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Album Review

Fevered anticipation surrounded the recording of roots music phenomenon Nick Curran's third album and debut for Blind Pig Records. Attaching himself to such a pinnacle of mainstream blues as Blind Pig seemed at first a mixed blessing. While it affords the ex-rockabilly twanger greater visibility on a reputable blues label, it nonetheless raised the fear that he may have been attempting some type of ill-advised commercial crossover. One listen to Doctor Velvet, though, and such fears melt away into pure joy. Perhaps "purist" joy would be more apt, as Curran continues on his time-traveling blues odyssey. Having already proven himself as the most worthy heir to the Texas blues throne — or at least Guitar Slim reincarnate — Doctor Velvet finds the guitarist/vocalist channeling the spirits of Albert King, Freddy King and Otis Rush in one long, funky burst of late-'50s and early-'60s go-go blues ectoplasm. From the inspired reworking of garage rock icons the Sonics' "Shot Down" to the Louis Prima-meets-Fats Domino vocals on "Don't Be Angry," Curran has deftly expanded his vision. Throw in a cameo appearance by Jimmie Vaughan on two tracks and Doctor Velvet packs some serious blues mojo. The "State of Texas" sunglasses Curran sports on the CD cover are merely an exclamation point.

Doctor Velvet, Nick Curran & The Nitelifes
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