Bill Perry – Raw Deal
Bill Perry ranks among the best of a new generation of blues performers. He's a stunning guitar master, or as Guitar One put it, a "six-string superman more powerful than a locomotive." He's also an intense, highly expressive singer and a superb songwriter. His new CD, Raw Deal, is just that - a raw, stripped-down showcase for Perry's incendiary guitar playing, songwriting prowess, and gutsy vocals. It features Bill playing not in a Chicago or Memphis blues style, but blues Bill Perry style - robust blues with strong characteristics of rock and equal soul and folk influences, blues that's modern but unvarnished, and a tad psychedelic. Postmodern blues guru Popa Chubby produced the album, skillfully harnassing and capturing Perry's raw talent and go-for-broke intensity while reflecting their New York City sensibility - passionate and somewhat menacing.
1. Bluesman - 3:27 2. Big Ass Green Van - 4:20 3. Harlem Child - 2:53 4. Live On - 4:23 5. Another Man - 4:00 6. Terrorists - 3:42 7. Going Down to Memphis - 4:05 8. Til the Money Runs Out - 3:14 9. Paper Dragons - 3:42 10. Man on the Side - 3:37 11. Gotta Serve Somebody - 7:22
Bill Perry (guitar, vocals) , John Redden (rhythm guitars) , Tim Tindall (bass) , Rob Curtis (drums) , Popa Chubby guitar on 7,9, backing vocals on 11) , Dave Keyes (Hammond B3-organ on 4,5,6,8,11) , Galea (backing vocals on 11)
1. AllMusic - Hal Horowitz
Producer and fellow New Yorker guitar slinger Popa Chubby effectively captures Bill Perry's sharp licks and road hardened style on the appropriately titled Raw Deal. The sound is sufficiently unrefined, as is Perry's raspy voice, on this set of searing originals, tempered by a handful of terrific covers. Lyrically the stereotypical life of a "bluesman," told in rather clichéd detail on "Bluesman," ("no insurance, can't get sick") "Big Ass Green Van" and "Going Down to Memphis," doesn't help propel these otherwise well written and arranged songs past established boundaries of the blues-rock genre. "Terrorists," Perry's anti-Iraq war entry, fares somewhat better. Regardless, it's his relentless guitar solos that give this music its guts, and that is where Perry excels. His tone is as gritty as his voice, chewing through this material with licks that reach out and grab the listener, and then pull back into the track. Perry is a master of succinct, fluid lines and has the sense to know when to stop playing, a trick too many in his field haven't mastered. His playing has the tightly wrapped feel of a caged lion before feeding time. A scorching version of Tom Waits' "Til the Money Runs Out" drags the track down to its urban blues roots, and a closing take on Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody" brings muscle to the tune's slow boil gospel groove. "Harlem Child" also looks at urban blight, and it's here that Perry's dusky voice and hammerhead guitar strike out with coiled spring intensity. "Live On" takes that hot wired tension and successfully feeds it into a slow R&B pressure cooker. Despite hewing close to the boundaries of his chosen genre, Perry nonetheless stakes his territory as a passionate, tough blues-rocker with a killer tone and enough musical twists to prove why he has survived in an arena rife with lesser talents.
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