I have made a conscious effort in the past many months to bring you reviews of some of the best recordings I have heard, many from some very talented, but perhaps lesser know blues and blues/rock artists. I have purposed not to write negative reviews about anyone but simply focus on the very best material available to the music consumer. I do this, primarily because I am a 40+ year consumer myself and often found myself confused after reading the more traditional type reviews. I would often purchase recordings that were reported in print as worthy of my money, only to find that upon listening to them that surely
the reviewer must have shared DNA with the recording artist or else he would have never written what he did. While you may not agree with my particular taste in music, I hope you will always find the all of the material presented to you at Bluesrockers is offered to you void of hidden agendas. I personally purchase most of the material I review and I never solicit and seldom receive free or promotional copies to review. Whatever else you may think about Bluesrockers, always know that we present artists and their work to you as objectively as possible.
I try to evaluate the music I consider for review with as much neutrality as possible. I look for artists who display talent, not only as axe slingers, but also as singers and songwriters. I also like to hear bands that sound as if they fit well together and are properly balanced. The recordings I choose to review are not always my own personal favorites but nonetheless they meet my own standards of excellence in most of the aforementioned parameters.
“The Long Way” from Albert Cummings and Swamp Yankee is truly a remarkable recording, in that it rates excellent in every area in which I consider when reviewing. Cummings is an extremely talented blues/rock guitarist, somewhat flavored with Stevie Ray, but certainly not a clone. His tone is stinging, the sound clean, and he varies in style but not in quality. His vocals are also above average, something that seems to be the downfall of many guitarists of this level. The band is three piece and both Don Chilson on bass and Ken Pallman on drums are first rate supporting players. Maybe more importantly than that, they are very complimentary to Cumming’s guitar and vocals, as the pieces of this band fit together like finely precisioned watch parts. Six of the nine tracks on the CD are Cummings originals, and again, of very high quality. There is not a weak offering in the set, and I have found myself at times replaying one track of the CD for a while, then switching to another and doing the same. At this point in a review, I would normally list favorites but in this case I will make this one simple statement: you will enjoy tracks 1-9.
In closing, let me point out one more amazing thing about this recording: the CD was recorded live in the studio in just a 2 hour session. While this affords the recording a nice live feel, I only realized this after listening to the CD multiple times and even then only after reading the liner notes. These gentlemen were most prepared to make this recording when they stepped into the studio.
Needless to say, I am listing “The Long Way” as a must own and encourage you to purchase a copy as soon as possible. The CD is available from one of my favorite internet sites at www.cdbaby.com, the same site from which I also purchased the great CD from Tony Janflone, Jr. If these two recordings are any indication of the caliber of artists available there, then CD Baby has to rank at the top of the list for places to find great independent artists.
Albert Cummings: guitar and vocals
Don Chilson: bass
Ken Pallman: drums
1. The Long Way
2. Lonely Bed
4. Hoochie Coochie
5. Mojo Workin’
6. Where Did I Go Wrong
7. Old Dog
9. Pull The Shades
1999 Albert Cummings
© Bluesrockers 2001