SUPERSONIC BLUES MACHINE – WEST OF FLUSHING, SOUTH OF FRISCO (PROVOGUE RECORDS)

SUPERSONIC BLUES MACHINE
‘West Of Flushing, South Of Frisco’
(Provogue Records)

Having heard snippets of the album I was eagerly awaiting getting my hands on this album to see if it lived up to the “supergroup” hype that’s surrounded it. Texan guitarist-singer-songwriter Lance Lopez, producer Fabrizio Grossi & drummer Kenny Aronoff are joined by a list of special guests which really is a who’s who of the blues rock world, with the likes of Billy Gibbons, Warren Haynes, Walter Trout, Eric Gales, Robben Ford and Chris Duarte contributing guest appearances.

“Miracle Man” kicks things off rather nicely with the rather pleasing hints of Texan blues and Lance’s wonderful gravely vocals brought together in a really catchy number.

“I Ain’t Fallin’ Again” has a great infill of backing vocals and that Southern choir feel of swaying and clapping which just makes this such a joyous track if that makes sense. Next up is the first full track I’d heard from the album, “Running Whiskey,” featuring the Rev. Billy F. Gibbons. Of course there are huge dollops of ZZ Top in this track and yes being a Top fan I love it!

The second special guest appearance is Warren Haynes, guesting on the laid back “Remedy.” A beautifully chilled song which the more you listen too the more you realize how many layers there are. Pure class. With the title “Bone Bucket Blues” it’s pretty obvious what’s about to hit your lugs. Now this is Texas blues pure & simple. I defy your foot not to tap along to this one.

“Let It Be” is such a smooth laid back track with to my ears hints of Robert Cray about it. Next up it’s Chris Duarte’s turn to guest on the soulful “That’s My Way,” another track with a gospel style choir backing, which adds hints of funk in the main body of the song. A real melting pot of styles which works extremely well.

Okay I must confess, I have a real weakness for the next song having fallen in love with it when Whitesnake first covered it oh so many years ago. That song is “Ain’t No Love (In the Heart of the City)”. What Messers Lopez, Grossi & Aronoff have done is bring it back to it’s roots. Back to the soul track it first was. I could just leave it on repeat, but that would be so unfair on the other album tracks.

“Nightmare And Dreams” features the talent that is Eric Gales. Eric bringing his unforgettable style, with hints of the late, great Jeff Healey in the mix. Walter Trout guests on “Can’t Take It No More,” a laid back, richly infused number which I admit is another one of my favorites on the album.

“Whiskey Time” is actually an extended ending to “Running Whiskey” a good enough excuse to have some more Rev Willy B delight the ears. The next to last track on the album “Let’s Call It A Day” has the last guest spot filled by Robben Ford. A ballad-esque number, it has some wonderful guitar playing, a song to really make you listen carefully to every note plucked.

Now we reach the last track “Watchagonnado” with its Hammond organ and blues rock vibe I found myself nodding along, being completely drawn into a track I didn’t want to end.

So to sum up, has it lived up to my expectations? Absolutely and more so. So much so I’ve ordered the vinyl for my collection.

– Dan Mann

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