CD Review: LIVE AT MADLIFE/ Blues Blast Magazine Review 2018
12 songs time-74:46
After twenty releases Georgia native Roger “Hurricane” Wilson celebrates the twentieth anniversary of uniting with The Hurricane Homeboys with this live recording at Georgia’s Madlife. They aren’t just an ordinary rhythm section. Marvelous Marvin Mahanay is a solid up front and steady bass man. Billy Jeansonne’s drumming is full and totally fleshes out the sound. Roger’s vocals aren’t distinctive, but fare better on the faster songs. What he lacks in vocals is more than made up in his excellent and dexterous guitar slinging. His playing leans more towards the blues-rock side, but often straddles the line between blues-rock and straight ahead blues. Whatever the case, he and his cohorts have energy galore. The set consists of three band originals and the rest being well conceived covers.
Freddie King’s instrumental “San Ho Zay” begins life as more or less faithful to the original, then wah-wah charges it up about midway through. Country meets blues-rock on “Why I Do What I Do”. Throughout the CD Roger’s voice is serviceable. He cranks up the reverb on a version of the Willie Dixon-Eddie Boyd penned “Third Degree”. His voice is stronger here. Rice Miller’s “Help Me” gets a similar treatment with the blues-rock and blues coexisting quite nicely. The guitar locks in with powerful and clear notes spewing out.
More country leanings show up on Roger’s otherwise blues-rock original “This Crazy World”. They cover an Allman Brothers Band Staple, Willie Cobbs’ “You Don’t Love Me”. His fluid guitar never lets up. Ringing, atmospheric and melodic guitar permeate the country tinged “The Way I Am”. He achieves a beautiful guitar tone. “Hurricane Blues” is a super charged charged theme song, a nice guitar workout. The Marvelous Marvin Mahanay penned “If This Is Love” features a sturdy bass line, full drumming and one of the better vocal efforts by Roger.
“You Never Know” is a straight ahead blues song. A faithful version of Floyd Cramer’s classic piano instrumental “Last Date” once again points out the country influence creeping in at times. A masterful take on this one. How’s this for versatility, he follows it up with a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along The Watchtower”. His guitar zooms through wah-wah land and includes a snippet of a riff from Eric Clapton’s “Layla” and tacks on a bit of “Foxy Lady” at song’s end.
A guitar master putting his skills on display backed by a top notch rhythm section…Guitar nirvana or what? Guitar junkies and music lovers alike will gather tons of enjoyment out of this release!
Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.