Link to Living Tradition Homepage





Sleeve not available
MIKE WHELLANS "Almost 42nd Street." Temple COMD2092

This seems to be only the second record to be released by the celebrated Galashiels-born, one-man-blues-band who readily acknowledges the late Duster Bennett as his inspiration. It presents a sensible selection of covers and originals, principally in the goodtime mode but not without some darker shadings where the material demands (as on the moody, less-often-heard Woody Guthrie opus When The Curfew Blows). Aside from the driving barrelhouse piano of Graham Scott on just three tracks, this is a purely solo effort by Mike, with any overdubbing kept to a fair and reasonable minimum; all in all, it proves an accurate reflection of Mike's astonishing prowess.

As well as the expected acoustic guitars, harmonica, bass drum and hi-hat (all well demonstrated on the busy Willie McTell standard, Warm It Up To Me), there's some nice use of wah-wah on Keb Mo's Am I Wrong and slide on J.B. Hutto's Hip Shakin', whereas the closing Smile On Your Face brings just that, and more, with Mike's "mouth percussion" showcase (one of two live recordings on the CD, this track was taped at a festival in Mike's adopted homeland Denmark - as if proof were needed that Mike really does deliver the goods!). Inevitably, not every cover brings fresh revelations, and Mike's vocals sometimes lack the last degree of down-home dirt and grit, but his quintessential renditions are always at least a cut or two above workmanlike, and he proves he has a genuine feel for all aspects of the authentic Chicago jumpin' joint style.

David Kidman
Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 57 of The Living Tradition magazine.