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Meat & Potatoes

Ian Siegal

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Album Review

Ian Siegal doesn't sound like the name of a blues singer; his name doesn't have the stereotypically bluesy ring of names like Memphis Slim, T-Bone Walker, Mississippi John Hurt, Lightnin' Hopkins, Big Maceo Merriweather or John Lee Hooker. Perhaps someone who is seeking to combine Celtic music and klezmer could be named Ian Siegal (Ian is a very Scottish name, Siegal very Jewish). But this Ian Siegal (who is from England) doesn't play either Celtic music or klezmer, and Meat & Potatoes is most definitely aimed at the blues market. On this 2005 recording, Siegal favors electric blues-rock with a strong Howlin' Wolf influence; his vocals owe a lot to Wolf's raspy vocal style. But Meat & Potatoes (which was recorded in Kent, England) is far from a carbon copy of the classic '50s and '60s recordings that the Wolf made in Chicago for Chess Records. Siegal has a different writing style, and as much as he obviously admires Wolf, he does things that Wolf didn't do. "Butter-Side Up," for example, is jazzy in a way that Wolf was not, and "Brandy Balloon" recalls the bluesier funk bands of the '70s (such as War and the Ohio Players). Without question, Siegal sounds like he has spent a lot of time listening to Howlin' Wolf, but he also sounds like he has spent a lot of time listening to the Doors, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, and Tower of Power. While Siegal is blues-oriented, he is far from a blues purist, and there is no overlooking the fact that rock, soul and funk have also affected his musical outlook. Siegal has his heroes and his idols, but he is his own person and paints an attractive picture of himself on this promising CD.

Meat & Potatoes, Ian Siegal
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