|For the last ten years, Paul Reddick & The Sidemen have been forging a band
of hard and steady blues that truly showcases the blues as a viable art form. They can move effortlessly from a
rocked-up jump blues tune to an acoustic performance straight out of the Delta without missing a heartbeat. Leader
and harp master, Paul Reddick, got his inspiration for this album from his fascination with the field recordings
of Alam Lomax for the Library of Congress, which is blues in its purist form, showing the blues as folk music.
That raw, primitive fierceness from those ancient recordings can be felt throughout this CD.
Paul Reddick's vocals and harp are at the lead of this great band, but the Sidemen are no slouches when it comes to the blues. Greg Marshak handles the bass, while Vince Maccarone handles the drums, and Richard Bell supplies the keyboard work. The guitars are manned by Kyle Ferguson and by producer Colin Linden. As a unit, they showcase their mastery of different styles of the blues, meaning there is something here for every blues lover's taste.
There is a lot of good blues on this set. "Dreamin' Dreamin'" is a one-chord song, and the ethereal, haunting organ from Richard Bell adds to the dreamlike effect. There is some great slide work on "Pearl River Blues". The Pearl River appears in a short story by the late Eudora Welty, and the lyrics came from a prison work song.
"Trouble Again" sounds like it could have been written by Leadbelly Ledbetter or Sleepy John Estes, with its spiralling rhyme scheme. It is reminiscent of the recent popularity given "Man of Constant Sorrow" through the Coen brothers film.
We liked the boogies the best. There is an excellent piano and slide work on "One Way Trip". "Smokehouse" is another rock-house stomp with some National steel work from Kyle Ferguson. Our favorite, though, is "Scufflewood". Its origins come from the music of Mississippi Fred McDowell, and its searing guitar and piano work make it perfect for those who dance.
This is a very eclectic set from a fine group of musicians. If you like Delta blues or John Lee Hooker's or R.L. Burnsise's brand of boogie, then you will really enjoy Paul Reddick and the Sidemen!