John Gillespie ”Bout Time”

 

The much anticipated release from former “Hell Hound” John Gillespie does not disappoint. The Texas-blues guitar riff that introduces the lead-off track-one of nine originals on the album, “Road Hard, Put Up Wet”- provides a hint of what’s to come, but only a hint.

The hard-driving, no-nonsense authority of Gillespie’s growling vocals propel us through a diverse itinerary of blues geographies, including those of New Orleans, Memphis, Chicago and the Mississippi Delta. (Among my personal favorites is the Dixieland infused Gravedigger. )

In addition to the Gillespie originals, there are covers of songs by Junior Wells, Skip James and Spark Plug Smith. The latter tune, previously covered by Hot Tuna among others, is a standout on the album as he channels his inner Bessie Smith for a rendition you’ll be humming long after the CD has finished spinning.

Long time fan’s of John’s harp and acoustic and National Steel guitar work will find it well represented but provided good company by Hammond B3, drums, congas, trumpet, sax and trombone.

In short., this is the John Gillespie album you’ve been waiting for-tuneful, eclectic, well arranged, crisply produced and providing a perfect musical bed for the unadulterated, unpretentious vocals of a genuine bluesman.

 

 

Mark Drnek, host of the Blue Light Central

for good measure Article and photos by Wanda Callagy

chris and john gillespie 062When John Gillespie made the decision to cut this recent solo CD, he quietly announced it to loved ones including fellow musicians and friends.

Thus, arrived the title..”Bout Time” as their response became clear. This man tends to amaze me.

Years ago, he played with Mike Herman as one of the Hell Hounds. That was my very first music feature, and it was published in the Daily Star. They both made it easy for me to share their love of playing music and their ability to tell a tall tale.

Now, as a solo artist, Gillespie has produced this CD with fellow artist Anthony Robustelli. It is dedicated to childhood friend Michael Berlin, and all songs are written by him with exception of where noted.

Gillespie jumps from ‘Rode Hard, Put Up Wet’ displaying a raspy drawl along with strong chords from Robustelli’s strong keyboard skills on a Hammond B3, telling a tale of moving on (maybe) adding Lil’ Stevie’s strong bassline. With the explosion of sound reminiscent of what one may imagine of New Orleans if they have not visted there, Doug Gable keeps the rhythm with that guitar of his adding congas by Jim Giampa and Rich Monica’s drums. “PO Box” highlights the trumpet with Kenyatta Beasley and tenor sax by Dave Mullen and Vincent Gardener’s trombone to add flavor. Gillespie carries through with his slide and vocal skills as “Gravedigger” continues the Mardi Gras theme.

Of course there is a love song. ‘Stuck On You’ fits the bill. Bobby Kendall adds to the crew on bass and Jerry Osterhoudt adds his drumming skills.

‘Blues For Willie Grant’ is a foot stompin’ adventure. Nice, nice slide from Gillespie.

‘Bats In The Belfry’ as a title caught my attention right away. Those horns come in and at times do take over a bit to my liking but they do it in what I would consider ‘good taste’. I would like to hear Gillespie’s voice a little clearer. The Wurlitzer adds a unique sound along with that Hammond. Remember, this reviewer does come from the viewpoint of absolutely loving the guitar. The more, the better.

“Vampire Women” adds Gillespie’s harp skills and makes me wonder if I shouldn’t look up more on Spark Plug Smith, the author of this song. It makes me wonder where the man has been. The smoky trumpet sound by Beasley puts you back into the time period it was written. Almost honky-tonk. Yes, that is how I would describe it. Some fancy footwork with those piano keys, also.

From ‘Bump And Grind’, with a wonderful conga beat to Junior Wells’ ‘Little By Little’ with strong backing vocals by Robustelli to the song of of longing in ‘Gypsy’, Gillespie’s voice becomes much softer and you realize while listening time can pass very quickly. In a good way. Perhaps by dancing and listening closely.

With that kind of variety, how can one go wrong?

‘What’s Goin’ Down’ Gillespie and friends ask that question to see just how aware folks are around them of the day to day changes happening on this planet. ‘Hard Time Killin’ Floor Blues’ by Skip James adds more sounds with steel guitars and more of that magic in playing slide.

This CD makes me want to hear Gillespie live, and his schedule is on his website, JohnGilllespieBlues.com.

I personally would like to hear more of this artist’s originals on his next CD. I liked the mix here, hearing some real bluesy blues and some upbeat tunes that had me moving around the room. The variety that all the musicians add to this makes it well rounded and has a little something for everyone.

And, next time, more slide. Just sayin.

This Cd was produced by John Gillespie and Anthony Robustelli and mixed by Anthony Robustelli, who also did horn arangements. Recorded at Shady Bear Studio, Brooklyn, NY, and Shady Bear North Mastered by Randy Merrill at Master disk New York City . Printed by Disc makers, Pennsauken, NJ. 2013 Blind Hound Music. All rights reserved.

Musicians: John Gillespie, Anthony Robustelli, Lil’Stevie, Rich Monica, Doug Gable, Bobby Kendall, Rich Monica, Jim Giampa, Kenyatta Beasley, Dave Mullen, Vincent Gardner, Jerry Osterhoudt . Photos by Lisa Gillespie.

Oh, and, I agree. Bout time.

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