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Back On My Good Foot

Rick Fowler

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Album Review

Fowler grew up listening to British blues cats like Robin Trower and Kim Simmonds and the Texas blues of Johnny Winter, and brings plenty of rock & roll attitude to his music. He's been playing since he was 12, and has a checkered career behind him including film scores, prolific work as a sideman, and a famous benefit concert for Tourette's Syndrome that featured R.E.M.'s Bill Berry on drums, who guests here on "Road to Nowhere." Fowler obviously likes his blues low down and dirty and despite its uplifting title, Back on My Good Foot is crammed with tales from life's darker side. Fowler sings with an understated intensity and his playing isn't showy, but brims over with a dark soulful power. On the title tune Fowler sings "I know I'm gonna be all right," but the music belies his optimistic forecast. His solo here is measured and deliberate, contrasting neatly with Tim White's big Hammond B-3 which conjures up storm clouds and lightening. White is the album's secret weapon, sharing the solo spotlight with his boss and adding his own foreboding aura to the proceedings. Fowler's also a superior songwriter, and while his scenarios are unremittingly bleak they're also imbued with a self-effacing humor that keeps things from getting too grim. The opener, "Infected with the Blues," likens the blues to a fatal disease. Fowler's observations on his condition here mirror the lives of many as he sings "I'm worried 'bout the future, I'm haunted by the past, ain't crazy 'bout the present, I pray that it can't last..." His solo is full of fire and brimstone that belies his protestation of helplessness. On "Preacher" Fowler smacks back at religious hypocrisy, telling the Reverend that he'll find peace in his own way. White's B-3 soars to the heavens while Fowler's slashing guitar keeps things anchored to the earth. "Road to Nowhere" is another ode to alienation and despair, again marked by Fowler's deadpan wit. A screaming solo full of bent notes and long sustains segues into White's easy rolling organ solo, suggesting a car cruising down an empty highway at midnight. "Skeletons in Your Closet" is a spooky country-blues thang with Fowler's slide guitar adding icy accents. Guest player Randall Bramblett takes the tune home with a brief churchy organ solo. A cover of Savoy Brown's "Hellbound Train" closes the album on a suitably desolate note. The playing stays subdued throughout, all tension and no release until Fowler breaks out with a growling volley of blue notes near the tune's end, but the fury quickly subsides to close with an almost meditative bass solo by Michael C. Steele. ~ j. poet, Rovi

Back On My Good Foot, Rick Fowler
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  • €9.90
  • Genres: Blues, Music, Rock
  • Released: 25 March 2008

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