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Live At Chan's - Combo Platter No. 2 (Live)

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Album Review

The first time Nick Moss & the Flip Tops cut a live set at Chan's blues club in Rhode Island, the resulting album was nominated for two Blues Music Awards — Album of the Year and Traditional Blues Album of the Year, not to mention nominations for Band of the Year and Best Instrumentalist: Guitar for Moss. The band returned to Chan's in the summer of 2008 to wax another live gig, this time joined by legendary Chicago bluesman Lurrie Bell and Kate Moss on bass. The live recordings that add to a band's rep are few and far between, but Moss and his gang have never played a note that doesn't brim over with passion, making Live at Chan's, Combo Platter No. 2 a worthy companion to the fireworks of the original Live at Chan's. The opener, "Spare Ribs and Chopsticks" lets the basic Flip Top quartet loosen up with extended solos from Moss and Piano Willie O'Shawny on piano. Moss is pure Chicago in his tone and style, but there's a hint of country blues (and C&W twang) in his solos, while O'Shawny simply burns up the keys with his right hand throwing off plenty of honky tonk sparks. "Try to Treat You Right," a Moss original from First Offense, is a launching pad for another extended Moss solo full of bent and slurred notes and Gerry Hundt's soulful harmonica, with Kate Moss adding a slinky bassline to the slow smoky tune. Hundt's "Whiskey Makes Me Mean," a boogie-woogie tune from his debut Since Way Back, gives Hundt a chance to show off his expertise on the blues mandolin. He drops a bit of "Choo Choo Ca-Boogie" into his extended solo while Moss blows harp and O'Shawny delivers his usual expert keyboard work. "Lonesome Bedroom Blues," by pianist Curtis Jones gets a down and dirty treatment with Moss singing vocal lines that twist and turn like his guitar solos before standing aside to let O'Shawny deliver a solo full of ripping high notes that send chills down your spine. Lurrie Bell joins the band for the last four tunes on the album. Bell sings lead on "Don't You Lie to Me," the Hudson Whittaker tune made famous by Tampa Red, then trades solos with Moss with able support from O'Shawny's piano. Eddie Boyd's "Five Long Years" is a showcase for the dueling solos of Moss and Bell. Bell gives Willie Dixon's "I'm Ready" a playful feel with a winking vocal and stinging guitar work that makes a nice contrast to Moss' more fluid lead lines. The ensemble takes it home with "I Wanna Know," a rockin' Moss original that features O'Shawny's dynamic right hand, barrelhouse backing vocals from the band, and Moss and Bell setting off more fretboard fireworks. ~ j. poet, Rovi

Live At Chan's - Combo Platter No. 2 (Live), Nick Moss & The Flip Tops
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