Nick Moss

Got a New Plan

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Anyone who thinks youngsters don't make blues albums like in the old days needs to be introduced to Nick Moss. His impressive credentials include journeyman work behind windy city mainstays Jimmy Dawkins and Jimmy Rogers, and although he hasn't logged as many miles as either, his sophomore release shows him to be a tough, roots-heavy traditionalist. Planted firmly in the Chicago tradition, Moss plays guitar with authority, tearing into trebly, terse, staccato lines like the old pros he learned from. Only four of these 14 tracks are covers, but even though his self-composed songs don't break new territory -- and some like "Work Your Hips" outwardly cop familiar riffs -- this is blues music of uncommon intensity. Moss occasionally shifts gears into R&B on tunes like "For You." It's just enough to alter, but not water down, the straight-up Chicago vibe that dominates this disc. His playing on Freddie King's "The Boogie Man" slices like the strings are made of razor blades. Occasional sax, credited to the Dez Desormeaux Orchestra, adds a further rough and tumble feel to the palate, as does the ominous Hammond B3 from John Kattke. Vocally, Moss is merely adequate, but he gets by on sheer force of will. A concise, rugged version of Muddy Waters' "My Love Strikes Like Lightening" sounds like it was recorded at the same time as the original, a high compliment indeed. Moss delves into back alley blues on "Two Fools With a Misunderstanding," another original that seems as if it came from the Muddy songbook. A cover of Donny Hathaway's "The Ghetto" is as contemporary as this album gets, but even on this funky instrumental, Moss retains his uncluttered approach. Dedicated and hardcore without being slavishly imitative, Nick Moss' new plan looks a lot like his old one;keep the raw Chicago blues alive.

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