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The Mudsliders

The Mudsliders - Spirit's gonna rise

This predominantly Country-blues album comes as a very pleasant surprise ; the washboard, harmonica, guitar format is well balanced and makes a great framework for the vocals. The singing is expressive and unaffected throughout with a crisp and fresh sound.

Female blues singers are something of a rarity these days and it’s a pleasure to hear Angela Altieri’s great voice. She is a powerful singer, very much in the style of the Texan blues performers of the last few years. Dick Bird, the third member of the outfit is a quality acoustic guitarist who was already part of the extraordinary ’93 album "Have Mercy" that featured Steve Baker. Several of the tracks also feature double bass and/or piano, which complete a very satisfying musical mix.

Steve Baker’s harmonica is as impeccable as ever, he builds his accompaniments without ever encroaching on the vocals or other instruments but rather enhances the whole. He blows the right note at the right time and can accelerate without being overpowering. He can go from a big amplified sound, something approaching that of a cello (what a tone and what a chorus on "Why Don’t You Do Right"!) to clear and sober acoustic backing. There is incidentally, more acoustic material on this album than on his other recent recordings with the likes of Abi Wallenstein or Chris Jones. Steve proves here that although his trademark is definitely amplified, he is no less brilliant acoustically.

So here is an album that’s worth listening to, not only for the harmonica but also for its sheer spontaneity, not to mention the quality of the recording, particularly in the light of the recent Baker/Wallenstein live album !

David Chalumeau

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