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The Mike Eldred Trio

61 and 49

(Zoho Roots; US: 20 Mar 2011; UK: 10 May 2011)

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.

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DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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