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Album Review

Since the 1960s, in one configuration or another, singer/harmonica player Rod Piazza has been performing in the blues styles of the 1940s and '50s, combining covers of songs of that era with his own originals in the same style. His band the Mighty Flyers has had varying personnel, the constant being his wife Honey on piano. He appears on the cover of 2011's Almighty Dollar with his hair white, and on the title song, an original, he notes that he hasn't exactly gotten rich by spending his life playing the blues. Yet he's still at it, and the album is a representative one for him and the group (whose other permanent members are guitarist Henry Carvajal and drummer Dave Kida). They play some ‘40s-style jump blues on the leadoff track, Jimmy Liggins' "Move Out Baby," and Jesse Belvin's "Baby Don't Go," complete with some tenor sax work by Jonny Viau. Traditional Chicago blues is heard in Muddy Waters' "Loving Man" and Little Walter's "Confessin' the Blues." Piazza gives himself harmonica showcases on the instrumentals "That's It" and "Con-Vo-Looted." Most unusual — but still rooted in the ‘50s — is the cover of Robert & Johnny's doo wop-tinged R&B ballad "We Belong Together." Almighty Dollar is thus another traditional collection of blues-related revivals by a veteran loyalist who by now is something of a blues legend himself.


Born: 18 December 1947 in Riverside, CA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A California-based blues bandleader, harmonica player, and singer, Rod Piazza's stratospheric harmonica wailings owe a heavy debt to both Little Walter and George "Harmonica" Smith. Piazza began his professional career as a member of the Dirty Blues Band in the mid-'60s. The Dirty Blues Band recorded two albums for ABC/Bluesway -- an eponymous debut in 1967 and 1968's Stone Dirty. Piazza left the band after the release of Stone Dirty, choosing to hit the road with his idol George "Harmonica" Smith...
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Almighty Dollar, Rod Piazza
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