A Few Reviews....


By Greg Land

Even among local blues players – a fairly subdued bunch, in general – Bob Page is notably low-keyed; only when he sits at a piano key- board does the polished ease of a veteran performer show through, as he glides easily through rocking boogies and jumps into steaming, slow-burning straight blues. Long a favorite backup player whose credits include appearances with Muddy Waters, James Cotton and John Hammond, Page is himself possessed of a strong, clear voice and as demonstrated by a new release, equally formidable songwriting skills.

Poor Man Shuffle, just out on Atlanta’s Hottrax label, includes eight originals among a dozen cuts that range from New Orleans mambo bounce in the Dr. John/Professor Longhair vein to pounding Chicago-style thumpers reminiscent of Otis Spann and Pinetop Perkins, with a nod to Champion Jack Dupree. Drawing together a handful of local ringers – bassist Bill Burke, guitarists Willie Alvarez and Nick Perugini, drummers Butch Cooper, Steve Hawkins and David Snavely and percussionist Rick Ware – as ’The Bob Page Project," this new release is a testament to Page’s feel. for the nicely- turned phrase, both lyric and melodic.

While there’s not a bad tune on the disc, there are standouts: "Goodbye, So long," a looping gumbo-flavored bouncer ; a cool, offhand cover of Hoagy Carmichael’s "Lazy River"; "Gone, Gone, Gone." a fast, tinkling boogie backed by brushes on the drum kit and thrifty, slicing guitar fills; and the wrap-up, W.C. Handy’s classic "St. Louis Blues," which Page personalizes with a distinctive mambo break.

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Copyright 1997 Hottrax Records. All rights reserved.
Revised: October 01, 2000.