Rootsy rockers belt it out
The Mike Eldred Trio play a hard-nosed version of roots rock, with a fair dose of rockabilly in the mix, as you might expect from an outfit that also includes Blasters alumni John Bazz on bass and Jerry Angel on drums. The group pull in some heavyweight assistance on some tracks here, notably Ike Turner on piano for a couple of tunes. 61 and 49 is relentlessly tight, featuring Eldred’s unvarnished but strong singing and twangy guitar solos by the bucketful. “She’s a Rocket”, “Jake’s Boogie”, and “Louise” kickstart the album with a trio of high-energy tunes played with conviction, while “This Old Train” channels a mellower, harmony-vocals vibe. The five-minute “Ruby’s Blues” is the record’s longest, bluesiest song, and one of its best. The band contrives to keep things varied, and the second half of the album finds the funky, faintly disturbing “Mr Newman” rubbing elbows with “Don’t Go Down There”, a deeply gospel-inflected a capella song that closes out the album. Groundbreaking? No. But for aficionados of roots music, there is much to savor here.