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Soul Bender

David Gogo

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Album Review

"I can't fit into my skinny black jeans anymore," laments veteran blues rocker David Gogo on the appropriately titled, hard-driving, Stones-inflected, and likely autobiographical "Getting Old." Only in his early forties at the time of its 2011 release, he's obviously not letting fears of his advancing years slow or dull his attack, as his sixth release in a decade shows. Gogo isn't a particularly distinctive guitarist, but as this disc's title implies (Soul-Bender is also the name of the Fulltone guitar pedal he uses); he infuses plenty of soul with his bluesy rock & roll. To that end, a crackling version of Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel," played as a high-energy swamp rocker with female backing vocals and horns, seems like a Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes cover instead of a hit for the King of Pop. Gogo is in tough voice throughout, charging into the rugged "Slow It Down" and a slinky slide guitar-driven burner "Do You Know How It Feels?" with raw nerves exposed. As usual, he uncorks some terrific covers (in addition to Jackson's); stampeding his blues guitar leads on the Robin Trower/Procol Harum nugget "Whisky Train" and the Doors' underappreciated "The Changeling" with chops and imagination. Gogo slows things down for a bit of mid-album R&B/gospel on a terrifically moving "I Found a Love," first sung by Wilson Pickett with the Falcons, and "Time Is Killing Me" (there's that getting-old theme again), a self-penned gem with the sharply observant chorus of "I always thought I was just killing time/but time has been killing me." An opening Allman Brothers Band via "Statesboro Blues"-inspired romp with Elmore James' "Please Find My Baby" is raucous enough but doesn't jell with the rest of the set's vibe. Gogo double- and occasionally triple-tracks his guitar yet the production and especially the mixing keep the sound open, airy, and uncluttered. This is right up there with his finest work, and it's arguably his best, so despite his own misgivings about his age, Gogo might just now be hitting his musical prime.

Customer Reviews

Very, Very, Very Good!

Love the instruments and vocals….This is an album you can boogie too! "Was It Love" is my new favourite tune!

Rock'n Blues At Its Best!

2011 has already seen David Gogo tour Canada, the US and Europe relentlessly. In between it all, this hard-travelled, virtuosic bluesman has produced a sizzling, hard rocking blues album that is filled with heavy grooves, grit and emotion.

Gogo's string of accomplishments is impressive; three Juno Nominations, two-time Maple Blues Guitarist of the Year, WCMA Musician of the Year and Saturday Night Blues' Great Canadian Blues Award for a lifetime contribution to the blues in Canada. Soul Bender is a good bet to add even more kudos to that list.

Opening with Elmore James' classic blues shuffle 'Please Find My Baby' and closing with Procol Harum's 'Whiskey Train' Soul Bender features five original songs, and five covers, all benefiting from David's unique interpretation. Recorded in his hometown of Nanaimo Soul Bender is another important chapter in the evolution of a great guitarist.


Born: Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Blues guitarist David Gogo was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, and received his first guitar at the age of five (having been given a ukulele the year before). He honed his skills for the next decade and, by the age of 16, he was gaining work as a professional musician. Inspired by a meeting with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gogo became even more committed, forming a the Persuaders, which went from a post-high school band to one that was soon opening for acts like Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy, and Albert Collins....
Full bio
Soul Bender, David Gogo
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  • $9.90
  • Genres: Blues, Music
  • Released: Jun 07, 2011

Customer Ratings