Jay Gordon’s Blues Venom
Shuttle Music/City Hall Records
Scintillating and Almost Time Travelling 21st Century Blues.
As I’ve said many times before, had I been idling through the racks of a Record Shop and stumbled across this disc; the band’s name and cover art would have caught my interest and made me ask the assistant if I could hear a couple of tracks.
Opening track Dripping Blues wouldn’t have been into it’s fourth bar before I would be forcing hard cash into their hand!
Yowza, Yowza, Yowza …… Jay Gordon can not just make his guitar gently weep, but scream like the Devil is in every single note.
The Blues, be it the distinctive Chicago style like this or of the Blues Rock variety can sound like it is a fairly simple formula, but it takes someone like Jay Gordon to make make such complex and emotional music sound that way …….. as Six String Outlaw and Lucky 13 prove beyond any doubt.
It’ll come as no surprise to existing fans or newcomers like me, that there are a couple of Classic songs tucked away here; but in the finest tradition Jay Gordon and the aptly named Blues Venom turn Elmore James’s Stranger Blues inside out, and somehow make it into a 21st Century Schizoid stomper, then Robert Johnson’s Travelin’ Riverside Blues is played on a National Steel at a frantic pace that I could hardly keep up with …… and both will have you sweating and and your heart racing; as you listen in the comfort of your own home; so God help us when these are played live!
Unlike many of his peers Jay Gordon ain’t no ‘one trick pony’ and would be nothing without the rhythmic drumming of Dwane Hathorn and the funky-ass bass of Sharon Butcher …… but he’s a Rocker at heart; but when you hear his Fire and Brimstone fuelled opening speech that introduces the scorching Pure Grain Alcohol, then when he delivers the words alongside some sublime guitar ….. you will sit back and wonder why these guys aren’t filling stadiums around the world.
The album title Slide Rules!, pretty much does tell you what to expect, but what it doesn’t hint at is what a dexterous guitar player AND songwriter Jay Gordon is; which is why selecting a Favourite Song has been so difficult.
The epic Dockery’s Plantation comes in at 7 and 1/2 minutes long, with some blistering solos in it, but never a note or second is wasted; and VooDoo Boogie is actually as scary as the title suggests with Gordon fearlessly entering Rory Gallagher territory and coming out unscathed.
But the Official RMHQ Favourite song is the next song on the album; El Diablo Blues which is a helluva song; sung in the style of AC/DC’s Bon Scott and featuring some of the meanest and scariest guitar playing I’ve heard in many a year …… and I’ve heard a lot!
What a bloody great find Jay Gordon’s Blues Venom has been this week; and I can’t wait for a stormy Winter’s night when I can blast some of these rockers out of the cars speakers.
Released 15th November 2019