Dave Weld / Dave Weld & the Imperial Flames

Burnin' Love

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Dave Weld, approaching sixty, has always been seen as one of the younger guard of electric blues guitarists, his boyish good looks adding fuel to that perception. Of course, he's one of the more seasoned professionals on the bar circuit, and with this recording, he makes his debut for the Delmark label after years on independent labels, his first CD since 1996 in a far-too-thin discography. Weld's Imperial Flames play a mix of contemporary and classic Chicago blues, blues-rock, and songs associated with ex-mentor J.B. Hutto, and Hutto's nephew Lil' Ed Williams. Vocalist Monica Myhre also contributes songs, sings lead on two, and backup for the rest, while drummer/vocalist Jeff Taylor, or the sweet-and-sour tenor sax of veteran Abb Locke are also heard in extensia. Weld's individual playing is spare but substantive, with just that right amount of edge that suggests he's in business. The tune for his mother, "Donnie Lee," is typically slow, but soulful in that it reflects the pain of trials and tribulations she endured while battling a major illnesses. It is in the patient pace and gently unfolding blues, especially on "Things Are so Slow" where Weld is at his best. This is not to say the band won't rock out, for they do on songs like the funky title track and the much faster "Talk Dirty" (not a cover of Poison/Brett Michaels rock anthem) featuring Myhre. It's in their warmer moments -- during the shuffle "Sweet Shiny Brown Eyes," or Myhre's tribute to her mother, "Listen to Mama," that the blue-eyed soul of the band is more prevalent. Lil' Ed contributes rhythm guitar throughout, and offers up some slide and vocals on the exciting "Ed's Boogie." Overall, this long overdue effort from Dave Weld shows what Chicagoans and blues fans have known all along: that this top-notch band deserves much wider recognition.

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