Patrick Hazell

Blue Blood

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    8
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Hazell jettisons part of his one-man band approach for his second album and, despite the loss of autonomy, loses none of the raw feel that has made his previous recordings so enjoyable. Enlisting fellow Iowa blues heads C-Boy James and Chris McCurdy to keep rudimentary time on drums and assorted lo-fi percussion throughout, Hazell turns in a multitude of great original performances on this disc. All 14 selections are written by him, and that same gritty vocal/Joe Hill Louis overamplified harmonica/boogie piano style that made his debut album so much fun is taken even further here. The opening track, "Here We Go Again" is an update of the first album's "Here I Go Again," recasting its lyrics this time toward the bar patron. There's a real ambient feel on several tracks, with the whole thing sounding like an old Trumpet 78 recorded at a deserted VFW hall, most notably on "Movin' Time," the minor-key "Walkin' on a Tightrope," the solo piano instrumental "Easy Time Blues," "Time Goes by So Quickly" and the set closer, "Avenue Called the Blues." That trademark one-man band feel of Hazell's comes to the fore on "All Mixed Up" and "Hot Cakes," awhile new territory is mined on the atmospheric "Unspoken Words," a drifting minor-key instrumental that almost veers into jazz territory. A superb harpist and an even better piano man (check out his work on "Washington Boogie" and the aforementioned "Easy Time Blues"), Hazell flexes his muscles beyond the novelty of one-man-band territory on this one, and the results are very fine, indeed.

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