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Blues Bytes USA, 'What's New' Feb 2018,'The Blues And I Should Have A Party' Album Review

Rarely does an album title communicate what is actually on the disc but Zoë Schwarz Blue Commotion achieves this on The Blues And I Should Have A Party, a shindig from start to finish and the ultimate blues celebration by four brilliant musicians at the t

“Please Don’t Cheat On Me” is a dynamic, catchy opener reflecting the party spirit, although Zoë’s edgy tone suggests more of a threat than a request, the searing guitar and organ solos providing this affirmation. The next indication that this is going to be a very special album comes with the title track, a slow burning ballad sung with gusto and interspersed with some of the best blues guitar you are likely to hear this year. Rob has been described at various times as subtle and intricate, his blues virtuosity somewhat understated, but this is 100% finger blurring fretwork, ‘eat-your–heart-out’ Bonamassa. Indeed, the whole album proves that Koral is as talented, dynamic and versatile as the best in the business.

“You’ve Changed” is similarly balladic and a vocal tour de force with its series of crescendos, contrasts of light and shade, magnificently and seamlessly arranged. The tempo and temperature rise with “Way Down In The Caves,” Pete Feenstra’s mysterious, atmospheric lyrical tribute to the 1960s enhanced by enigmatic vocals, haunting Les Paul guitar, mesmeric drumming and sumptuous Hammond organ. “Don’t Worry Blues” is as authentic as Ma Rainey, Billie Holliday and Bessie Smith in their prime, proving that not only is Zoë a contender for queen of the genre but also has the band to complement her status. “Shout” with its compelling drumbeat, jagged guitar fills and hurdy gurdy flavored middle section, courtesy of Pete Whittaker’s Wurlitzer, is refreshingly inventive.

“You Don’t Live Here Anymore” is best savored for its emotive lyrics delivered with trademark aplomb. Gems like this typify the exceptionally high caliber of all 13 original Schwarz-Koral compositions and set the band apart from others on the current scene. “My Handsome Man” brings a witty and lighthearted side to the proceedings whilst the jaunty “Tell Me” is sung in that natural conversational style which engages the listener. “Don’t Hold Back” is the perfect platform for Zoë’ s incredible vocal range and Rob’s sophisticated, measured guitar work. So catchy yet poignant is “The Memory Of You” that it could be a hit single, the band’s chameleon qualities coming to the fore. Feenstra takes another bow, having penned the lyrics for “Time Waits For No One”, his poetry a perfect fit.

It may be a “Thank You” from Rob and Zoë and a final flourish from drummer par excellence Paul Robinson to end this particular party, but for Zoë Schwarz Blue Commotion the real party is just beginning.

  • 'Blues Bytes' Online blues ezine 'What's New'
    • Words by: David Scott