Elliott & The Untouchables

Both Ends Burnin'

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Elliott New and his Columbia, SC, bandmates are all about traditional blues, and it seems to ooze from every pore in their bodies. You can hear it in their respectful covers and clever originals and you can see it in their slightly too-big suits, blues shoes, sunglasses, and in New's collection of wildly adorned shirts. Both Ends Burnin' is the band's third CD, offering half originals and half standards from the likes of Albert Collins, Muddy Waters, and Little Johnny Taylor. The opener (and title track) sets the tone for most of what follows: swing, jump, and a variety of up-tempo grooves that sprout from the West Coast and Chicago traditions. New is out front on vocals and big fat guitar, but Mike "Naz" Nazarenko must be given a large chunk of credit here, too; he is a Goliath on harp. He's always in step with New, chugging right along in fine fashion. On Howlin' Wolf's "Who's Been Talkin," he echoes New's verse lines round for round. He sings a bit, too (on Jimmy Rodgers' "Act Like You Love Me"). New is a fine songwriter, bringing forth songs like the slow, smoky, and slinky "Life Without You" and a fun little ditty called "Turned Me Upside Down" on which he plays slide. It's been said that Elliott and the Untouchables sound like the band Roomful of Blues would be if they didn't have horns. That's a big 10-4.

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