Self-Titled Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue Debut is a Veritable Wang-Dang Doodle [REVIEW]
It's a party. Billed as a "Blues Supergroup," the self-titled Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue debut (Electro-Fi Records) is a stone-cold "Wang Dang Doodle" of epic proportions (although they don't cover that 1961 Howlin' Wolf hit, they just epitomize it) Come to think of it, they should have. Just put this sucker on the box and let her rip over and over again.
They lead off with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown's 1954 "Midnight Hour" (not to be confused with the 1965 Wilson Pickett hit) before improving upon Billy Boy Arnold's 1955 "Here's My Picture." By the time singer Mark Hummel does his own "Prove It To You" and "Cool To Be Your Fool," you just know something is going on here but you don't know exactly what it is yet. Hummel has the perfect voice to convey the mountain of emotion within these grooves. Born in Connecticut, raised in Los Angeles, he has blown his blues harp and sang for such stalwarts as Charlie Musselwhite, Brownie McGhee and James Cotton before forming his Blues Survivors in '76. He's been on the road ever since.
After nifty takes on Lowell Fulson's "Check Yourself" and Mose Allison's "Stop This World," guitarist Anson Funderburgh starts to make himself known. Here's a Texan who backed Lightnin' Hopkins in the '70s, formed his Rockets in '78, took seven years off to raise a family, yet splashed strong in his return with Delbert McClinton, Boz Scaggs, Earl King and Jimmy Buffett. Funderburgh is-get this!-the real-life Beavis of Beavis & Butthead fame. That's right. Cartoonist Mike Judge was once a Rocket bassist.
After an update on Jimmy McCracklin's "Take A Chance" dare, and Hummel's "Lucky Kewpie Doll" novelty, they really get down on an arrangement of the old folk song "Pepper Mama." Nine tracks in, you start to know exactly what's goin' on here and it has a little something to do with guitarist Little Charlie Baty. Here's a cat who came out of Alabama before going to UC Berkeley in Cali and starting his Nightcats which, 32 years later, are still going strong.
Get the picture? Put 'em all together with such discreet covers and strong Hummel originals and you have, indeed, a blues supergroup as advertised.I'm all in.