Blues Company

Invitation to the Blues

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If you listened to Invitation to the Blues without paying close attention and without knowing anything about the Blues Company's background, you could easily assume that the band was American. Unless you listened closely, it wouldn't occur to you that the Blues Company might be based in Germany, or that it could have a founder who was originally from the former Yugoslavia (Todor "Toscho" Todorovic). But the Blues Company has, in fact, been a European blues institution since 1976, and its members really do include several Germans and a Yugoslavian leader. On Invitation, the two lead vocalists (drummer Martin Schmachtenberg and founder Todorovic) sing with only slight traces of European accents. Their enunciation in English is excellent, and they would fit right in at a blues club in Chicago or Austin, TX. Invitation shows how unpredictable and diverse a blues-oriented CD can be; this album finds the band incorporating everything from rock (the moody "Driving Through Texas") and funk ("Fine! Fine! Fine!") to jazz ("Warm Night in June"). "What Love Can Do" has the sort of Texas-fried blues-rock groove that you would expect from ZZ Top, while "Havin' a Ball" underscores Todorovic's appreciation of Little Richard. And elements of 1940s jump blues find their way to the exuberant "Jet Set Shuffle." To the Blues Company's credit, it all fits together -- Invitation comes across as eclectic without sounding erratic or schizophrenic. This CD is enthusiastically recommended to anyone who is seeking something unpredictable from the blues.

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