You should have seen this coming a mile away.
Having lived most of my life in some portion of the infamous “Tornado Alley”, I know the routine only too well. Well generally to the southeast of us, there will be severe weather. I look out my window to an often gorgeous day but soon in the distance I will see ominous clouds. You can watch it arrive from a great distance as this intense and powerful system makes its way through middle Tennessee.
I have been telling readers for several years now about the Detroit born, greater Chicago area based blues/rock guitarist Rocco Calipari, Sr. I first heard him play in the great band “Howard and the White Boys” and have subsequenty been honored to have written reviews for his band Head Honchos. His son, Rocco Jr., came first through “Howard and the White Boys” at about the ripe old age of 15, then on to play with his Dad in the Honchos. In each CD I reviewed of theirs, you could hear so much growth in their sound, skill, and engineering that they always left me looking into the future at what was surely to come. With their release of “Blues Alliance”, I feel safe to say that what I have been waiting on has arrived in full force.
“Blues Alliance” pretty well sums up why as a young man in the early 60s, I fell hopelessly and forever under the influence of blues/rock music. In 1964 when those legendary British bands sent over albums which were heavily influenced by American blues artists, I was officially in love. In those days I lived in the same neck of the woods as Lonnie Mack and his music further solidified my own personal “Blues Alliance”. This was passionate, hard driving, high energy, sweat drenched, and powerfully played music. In my dictionary, those words form my definition of the “Head Honchos” band and music.
Rocco Calipari, Sr. and company have put together an outstanding recording in “Blues Alliance”. This set is as high energy and hard driving as any recording I have heard in a long while. Rocco Sr. and Rocco Jr. have long now delivered a Joe Louis level one-two punch on guitar. On this recording, they had added a very gifted rhythm section of Mike Boyle on bass and Will Wyatt on drums, and these two gentlemen now round out a now very formidable line up. I cannot tell you how much the addition of this rhythm section has complimented the two headed guitar monster of Rocco & Rocco. I doubt Rocco could have chosen two better players to add, and I surely hope this lineup can stay together for a while, they have the opportunity of being special The songs lyrically are good and honest and Rocco’s vocals are very enjoyable. But in all honesty, it’s the music that will leave you wanting more. Most every tune except perhaps the more mid tempo but equally as enjoyable “I’m a Ram” are very in your face type tracks.
From the opening bell, “Blues Alliance” delivers atomic blues/rock energy via “Stuck Between the Middle”, which shows you early their proven formula for the succeeding tracks: soaring guitars, strong vocals, thunderous rhythm section, add a dash of wah, all drenched in Head Honchos attitude. Track #2, “Mr. Bad” pretty well explains my opinion of Rocco, Sr: a guitarist who is purely bad to the bone. This track is especially interesting as it features the insertion of a well conceived mid song gentle section, which I have labeled “the eye of the storm”. After the eye passes in “Mr. Bad” there are more gale force winds to finish. Every track in some form or fashion is described in the three sentances above, as the recording is consistent and consistently excellent. “She Got That Thang” may be my favorite on this set, but the material on this recording is so good it is very difficult to choose favorites.
“Blues Alliance” is available online via the band’s official web site at http://www.theheadhonchosband.com or from many of the regular music sales outlets. “Blues Alliance” receives the coveted by rarely given Bluesrock.reviews “I’d watch an entire politcal debate on TV if my wife would let me buy a Head Honchos CD” seal of approval.
Rocco Calipari, Sr – Guitar and lead vocals
Rocco Calipari, Jr – Guitar
Mike Boyle – Bass guitar
Will Wyatt – Drums, percussion, harmonica, backing vocals
01. Stuck Between The Middle
02. Mr. Bad
03. Number One
04. She Got That Thang
05. Find Me A Woman
06. Can’t Get Satisfied
08. Midnight Ride
09. We Will Win
10. Rock N’ Roll
11. I’m A Ram
Review Copyright 2020 Bluesrock.reviews