Riley, who spent 25 in the correctional circuit as a guard in Illinois’s Joliet State Penitentiary, is a reformed addict and Vietnam veteran. He is joined by son, Dave Riley, Jr., snap-drummer Sam Carr, and Arkansas harp man, John Weston. The bulk of the music is played as a blues power trio. They open the disc with Detroit Jr.’s infectious “Call My Job.” Riley makes the tune his own, tactfully placing 7’s and 9’s in the rhythms and spilling filler riffs with grace and accuracy. “Tribute,” which features Riley alone with his guitar, cites such forerunners as Elmore James, Wes Montgomery, and Texas slinger Freddie King as masters, Riley acknowledging their powers in the artform and humbly taking the torch for his passion. He further pays tribute, ripping through standards by Howlin’ Wolf and BB King (“Smokestack Lightning” and “Angel of Mercy”). Oddly enough, the record closes with a soulful take on John Lennon’s “Imagine.” The number begins with a monologue that calls attention to grade school violence. Riley’s chord strumming is choppy at best, but his intentions are forthright.
This record makes a fine introduction to a Southern unsung bluesman.
Fedora Records on the web: http://www.jazzdepot.com
Track Listing: Call My Job/ There She Comes/ Whiskey, Money & Women/ Tribute/ Down South/ Smokestack Lightning/ Angel of Mercy/ I Want to Thank You Baby/ My Baby's Gone/ Casino Blues/ Imagine
Personnel: Dave Riley (vocals, guitar); John Weston (harmonica); Dave Riley, Jr. (bass); Sam Carr (drums)
Record Label: Fedora Records
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