Felix Cabrera "For Green"

Felix Cabrera "For Green"
Si Records

CD review by Roger-Z

Breathing new life and creativity into a rigidly defined musical form takes real talent. Felix Cabrera shows that talent aplenty. He stirs in a pinch of Cuban sensibility and revitalizes the "the blues." He achieves the same poignant vocal lament with a slighly different accent and rhythmic sensibility. Different enough to make this album stand out from the pack.

The rhythmic diversity of this album knocks me out. Felix kicks it off with "Josephine," an ode to a girlfriend/lover, featuring a killer New Orleans, "Little Feat" groove. Then on to "Cold, Cold," a seething, slow blues with sublime guitar work by Arthur Neilson.

The next two tracks, "Self Argument in D minor" and "Animalism," give "the blues" a Latin perspective. "Animalism" functions as the centerpiece of the album. With an unforgettable bass riff that doubles as the chorus melody, the tune just grooves. Note the incendiary guitar solo by Arthur.

Despite its Latin-sounding title, "Un moco loco" is propelled by a simple shuffle beat that serves as a platform for Felix's harp playing. Tasteful and melodic. Great subtle rhythm guitar.

"I Keep Forgetting" updates the Leiber and Stoller classic with a funky Latin beat.

An old Dylan tune, "Please Crawl Out Your Window," flows with a beat reminiscent of "Stuck In The Middle" by Stealer's Wheel.

On the album's title track, "For Green," blues lyrics are wedded to a '50s ballad featuring steel guitar. This unusual combination sounds like a movie soundtrack.

"She Put Him On A Diet" stands out with Cuban percussion, fine nylon string guitar, and tasty harp. The perfect marriage of "the blues" with a Cuban beat -- something I dub "The Blue Latin Sound."

Felix Cabrera possesses a unique Cuban take on the blues. A talented writer, he composed the majority of tunes on the record. Personnel include Felix (vocals, harp), Arthur Neilson (guitar), Phil Butler (bass), Tony Farinas (bass), Bill Schroeder (drums), Melvin Davis (organ), and Geovanni Arencibia (percussion). For more information on the artist, as well as live dates, check his web site at www.felixcabrera.com.

2004 Roger-Z