Monday, September 7, 2009

Soul Monster reviewed by Rick Davis

Soul Monster
Rod Piazza
Delta Groove Music
13 tracks

When you talk about Rod Piazza and The Mighty Flyers Blues Quartet the word "showman" comes to mind. Rod and Honey Piazza can provide a live performance like nobody else in the blues world today. In addition to being a great blues song writer, harmonica player and performer, Rod's list of accomplishments include Harmonica Instrumentalist of the Year in 1998. His band, The Mighty Flyers, have won the Blues Music Award for Band Of The Year four times. In 2008, Honey Piazza got her first Blues Music Award for the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of The Year.
Piazza's 44 years of experience takes him back to groups like The Dirty Blues Band, Bacon Fat with George Smith, and The Chicago Flying Saucer Band. Soul Monster, Piazza's 24th album (cd) includes Rod on Harp and Vocals, Honey Piazza on piano and bass, Henry Carvajal on guitar and vocals, Dave Kida on drums and percussion, and Jonny Viau and Allen Otiz on tenor sax.
Rod opens with his chromatic in the title track "Soul Monster" also featuring the superb guitar work of Henry Carvajal. Rod pays tribute to Jimmy Reed with Reed's song "Can't Stand To See You Go". Rod's perfect vocals would make Jimmy proud. "Cheap Wine" is a new tune by Rod and Honey. Big Bill Broonzy's masterpiece "Key To The Highway" is one of the best tracks on the cd showcasing both Rod on harp and Honey on piano. They also pay homage to Goerge Smith, Rod's long time partner with the group Bacon Fat by playing "Sunbird". This is some of the best boogie woogie I have heard in a long time. The great jump blues tune by Jimmy Liggins "That's What's Knockin' Me Out" is the next tribute. Rod tells us a tale in his low down dirty blues tune "Tell Me About It Sam". Rod's experience is evident is the next tune Slim Harpo's Queen Bee. Piazza cruises into one his own jump blues tunes "Expression Session" on track nine. The 1955 classic "Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So)" features a fantastic guitar solo by Henry Carvajal. Track 11 has to be a first for Rod Piazza's band. I don't think I have heard song like Joe Seneca's R&B classic "Talk To Me" covered on a blues album. Sung by lead guitar Henry Carvajal, it is some of the best doo-wop tunes you will ever here on any album. The song was done originally by Little Willie John. Piazza completes a stellar album by playing Little Walter's "You Better Watch Yourself " and Jimmy Forrest's jazz recording of "Hey Mrs. Jones".

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