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ROD PIAZZA & THE MIGHTY FLYERS BLUES QUARTET

SOUL MONSTER

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Delta Groove (DGPCD134)

Soul Monster, Can't Stand To See You Go, Cheap Wine, Key To The Highway, Sunbird, That's What's Knockin' Me Out, Tell Me About It Sam, Queen Bee, Expression Session, Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So), Talk To Me, You Better Watch Yourself, Hey Mrs Jones.

Blues musicians, like fine wine, improve with age and Rod Piazza is no exception. The confidence he's gained through maturity has allowed the band to take more control on this CD, rocking out in a spirited fashion that gives Rod time to breathe and blow some exceptional harmonica.

As usual, he picks some pretty good material - including a seamless, rollicking piece of Jimmy Reed (Can't Stand To See You Go), the usual nod to his mentor George Smith (Sunbird), an unrelenting slice of tough Chicago blues (Key To The Highway) and  a motoring re-write of the Slim Harpo classic (Queen Bee). It's a pleasure to listen to this band; lead guitarist Henry Carvajal is all over the place knocking out crazy licks and spunky chords, Dave Kida beats the hell outta the drums and kicks the pedal to the metal on every tune while Miss Honey masters piano as well as bass guitar!

Rod Piazza attracts hard line harmonica fiends and you want to hear a lot of it - and on this CD you get tons! He takes on Little Walter with some glorious solos on You Better Watch Yourself while on George Smith's Sunbird, he goes straight for the jugular blasting out all kinds of thundering effects and jumping moves on the old chromatic. His own tune, the instrumental Expression Session has a light bootin' Fabulous Thunderbirds sound and there's a nice honey-dripping feel to Joe Liggin's That's What's Knockin' Me Out with Miss Honey's piano right upfront, grinding out the melody while the band cruise along in an easy-going groove until the big moment when Piazza blasts in with a nasty spittin' solo, Junior Wells style. 

In the sleeve notes, Piazza writes "I've played a lot of harp over the past 24 CDs and I believe this one contains some of my strongest yet". I, for one, totally agree!

Review Date: November 2009

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