CD review by Roger Zee (12/21/16)
Dave Fields dug deep and finally "Unleashed" his inner "Mad Shredder!" This album completes his metamorphosis from dapper, demure Blues Man to Raging Rocker. Instead of recording many of the instruments himself as on previous efforts, Fields imported monster rhythm sections who challenge him at every turn. Think Cream. And it resonates large! Players on the sessions include Kenny Soule, Sam Bryant, Van Romaine, Dave Moore (drums), Erik Boyd, Andy Huenerberg, Buddy Allen, Chris Tristram (bass), Vladimir Barsky (keys), Juan Pertuz (congas), Doug Hinrichs (percussion), J.T. Lauritsen (harp, vocals), Lisa Sherman (vocals), and Gary Oleyar (strings).
Dave Fields and gang don't waste any time throwing down. Track one, the instrumental "Anticipating You," commandeers the beat to Prince's "You Sexy MotherF*cker." and pumps it chock full of steroids. Everybody gets a go at wacking the pinata on this one! Of course, I'm partial to Erik Boyd's bass solo. "Going Down," recorded live in NJ, amplifies the beat and pummels the crap out of this time-honored Blues. Eddie Van Halen lesson well learned! Fields and company go all Zeppelin on the two "Jagged Line" tracks. Heavy like an elephant sitting on your chest. Dig the phase-shifted vocals. They continue their incursion into Zep territory with the bombastic, live, slow Blues of "Pocket Full of Dust." Fields moves on from Jimmy Page to Jimi Hendrix with live versions of "Hey Joe" and "The Star Spangled Banner." Just when you thought no one could add anything to the national anthem, Fields' solo rocks it out of the park!
But it's not all sledgehammer here. Plenty of good humor and sunshine brighten the Blues. The Zappaesque "L.E.S. Hoedown" takes a country two-beat and jacks the speed up to Thrash level. The light-hearted, airy bounce of "NY City Nights" reminisces about hanging with your lady out and about in Manhattan. "The Boy Wants to Play" funks up the mood and delivers a more intimate engagement. "Child of the World" battles the rampant ugliness of our times. "I'm a child of the world on a love crusade." On "Mama's Got the Blues," Fields knows what he's in for. "Well I come home from gigging at 4am, guitar on my shoulder, amp on my hip. Smelling like cigars, whiskey on my breath. She's looking at me like she's the Angel of Death. She's got the Blues and in a minute I'm gonna have them too!"
Most people only succeed in the music business when they shuck the jive they believe the industry demands and instead reveal their inner self. Truth sells! Or does it?
©2016 Roger Zee