Sunday, March 16, 2014

Terry Quiett Band--- is Taking Sides!

I like the blues as much as any average white guy who grew up in the fifties and sixties and came to really appreciate the blues in the seventies.  I knew of (and still know of) John Lee Hooker and Howlin' Wolf and them Chicago blues dudes.  I have heard the likes of Mississippi Fred McDowell and Leadbelly and Bukka White.  I have even suffered through many a conversation listening to people  (most of whom have made their blues purchases courtesy of the various blues-albums-you-have-to-have articles written by so-called experts) who very seldom listen to blues extolling the godfatherness of Robert Johnson.  Well, let me say this about that.  I may not know the blues but I know what I like.

I like Stevie Ray Vaughan.  I like the early Bluesbreakers.  I like Kenny Wayne Shepherd.  And I like the Terry Quiett Band.  Those of you who have heard of Quiett, congratulations.  You are on the tip of a career about to bust wide open.  For those of you who haven't, pay attention.  This guy is worth reading about and, more importantly, worth hearing.  But before I type on, watch this video to acquaint yourselves with the man and the band.

Get the drift?  Blues ain't always the blues, Roderick.  Sometimes it is way more than the blues.  When it is done right, anyway.  And Quiett and his trio do it right.

They do it doubly right on their latest, Taking Sides.  They rock and slide their way through twelve blues-to-rock-to-soul beauties, capturing that feel of the early Allman Brothers here and Stevie Ray there but always with a look to the rhythm--- the rhythm of the blues.  

That rhythm varies, track to track.  They rock, these guys, enough to plant people against their seats in a theater setting and more than enough to get people on their feet in a club.  They roll, thanks to drummer Rodney Baker, who is solid if not flashy, and bassist Nathan Johnson, whose fluid fingers trip over the strings lightly when necessary, with force when called for.  

The real key, though, is the guitar and voice of Quiett himself.  He has a bit of the South in his voice but never lets it overpower the song, and oh, that guitar!  Quiett runs the gamut from sweet and smooth to uplifting to downright raucous without skipping a beat.  He bends strings, works the slide and coaxes notes from the guitar only very accomplished guitarists can create and if that doesn't mean anything to you, you're not listening.  Toss aside all of those years of Rolling Stone magazines inane "100 Greatest Guitarist" lists and listen to the music, fer chrissake!  Terry Quiett is one.  And if he's not on your list, he's on mine.  He can freakin' play and it is all over Taking Sides.

My favorites on the album are, me being a Motown fan, Two Hearts, which blends the edges of Motown with rockin' blues, and a cover version of Marvin Gaye's Let's Get It On.  They call the Gaye cover a "bonus track."  It is, in more ways than one.  It shows the feel Quiett has for his music, it gives him guitar room (I love the horns as well), and it highlights Quiett's surprisingly soulful voice.  

This, in fact, has reawakened my thirst for superior blues rock.  I have pulled his Just My Luck album (read my review from a couple of years ago here) from my stacks and plan on listening to it tonight.  As busy as I have been, I seem to have lose, now and again, the reason that I write in the first place--- the music.  Time to reacquaint myself.

You can check out the Terry Quiett Band on their website,  I recommend it.  First, though, watch this video recorded a couple of years ago.  Maybe it will spur you to see these guys when they come through your area,

Frank O. Gutch Jr.

(Frank Gutch Jr. writes and has written for numerous magazines and websites, presently including this blog, his own website and the prestigious Don't Believe A Word I Say site put together by musician and music pundit Bob Segarini, out of Toronto. He specializes in the Indies, having fought hand-to-hand combat with major record labels for decades (talk about zombies). He believes music should be the core of the music business, though business it mostly be, and denies the accepted reality in the stead of the artistic one. Seldom does he receive pay for articles and/or reviews and believes that there is no place for negatives in a world in which one cannot keep up with the positives. He is, in a sense, a lost soul in a sea of music, drowning, but drowning gratefully.)

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