Saturday, 28 June 2014

Merrell Fankhauser & Ed Cassidy: UK review

(CD from

The name of this band is likely to be cause for interest for many listeners given that it refers to Merrell Fankhauser the highly renowned guitarist, and the late Ed Cassidy of Spirit on drums. This alone tells us at that we are potentially on to something good here. We also have Merrel’s son Tim on vocals and guitar, Leroy Richards on bass, Bruce Clarke Harmonica and sax, Jim Enos on piano; alongside these legends we have a long list of greats guesting on various tracks including, among others, John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), and Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship) [interviewed in Ptolemaic Terrascope issue 19 in 1995]. 

Disc One starts with ‘Further on up the Road’ a nice rocky blues track; ‘32/20 Blues’ and ‘Bright Lights Big City’ are traditional blues tracks enhanced by some superb harmonica and piano playing; ‘Excited’ ups the tempo and pace a bit, ‘Walking the Dog’ continues the rock and roll feel without losing that blues edge; some delicious slide guitar gives ‘Louisana Blues’ a wonderful mellow feel, a real highlight of the album to my ears; ‘High Heel Sneakers’ is a light hearted piece of rock and roll; ‘Tale of Misty Mountain’ takes the tempo down and moves towards a more melancholy style with some stunning sax adding to the atmosphere; ‘Possession over Judgment Day’ and ‘On The Blue Road’ are very strong tracks with excellent musicianship from all the band; ‘Nicky’s Song’ a gentle melodic tribute to Nicky Hopkins; ‘Psychedelic Dreams’ is a light-hearted blues song about the dangers of smoking that herb. 

Disc Two starts with ‘Hot Night in Louisville’ and ‘Milk Cow Blues’ are lively up beat chunk of rocking blues; ‘Who Shout The Lightnin’ is pure rockin’ jazz blues; ‘Goin Back to Delta’ is very much traditional blues instrumental with fiddle giving it a country feel; ‘Stolen Guitar Blues’ featuring John McEuen playing some tasty mandolin, was written about the loss of Randy California’s Martin guitar; ‘Brian Berry Blues’ another full on hunk of delightful jazz blues instrumental; ‘Cosmic Lady’ is a lively rock and roll blues track; ‘Voodoo in the Jungle’ slows the tempo with a laid back mellow sound; ‘Cassidy’s Big Beat’ I have to admit I am a bit of a sucker for a good drum solo and this one goes way beyond good; ‘Long Rifle’ is more rock and roll than blues; ‘Papa Told Me’ ends the music with a good old acoustic country blues track; then to finish we have a short Ed Cassidy Interview. 

All taken together this is a superb blues focused mix with elements of rock and roll, jazz and country. An album showing off the talents of some excellent musicians and is a worthy addition to any music collection. (Steve Judd)

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