Artist: Mean Old Fireman and The Cruel Engineers Album: Dumpster Fire Release 2021 Let me start by saying great name for a band! This eight song set is chock full of slippery, gutsy blues. If you like your blues drenched in greasy slide guitar you will enjoy this record. I found the production interesting...in a good way. The drums seem to have been recorded with a modern approach while the band is playing quite traditionally, creating a pop and fatness that isn't often heard on records of this nature. There are a few tracks with very strong horn parts that really add quite a bit to the overall drive. It is a well balanced mix of acoustic and electric guitars throughout. The slide guitar playing is relaxed. No acrobatics, just well played and tasteful. If you are looking for a modern stunt guitarist, this isn't the record for you. However, if you are looking for maturity, taste and great tone, this has all three to spare. A standout track is "Cold Women With Warm Hearts". Besides a great title, it's a driving straight ahead shuffle with a catchy chorus, horn hits and interesting solos that get to the point and say nothing more than what needs to be said in order to deliver the simple truth that lies within well played blues music. I also really enjoyed "Got No Spoons". To put it simply, just fantastic guitar playing laid over a deep pocketed band. At 3:55 there is a slide lick that displays the significant chops in this man's arsenal. The kind of chops that Johnny Winter would occasionally flaunt in his stint with the Muddy Waters band in the late 70's. Just a glimpse of the possibilities, to then duck back into the mix of a solid blues outfit. My favorite song is "Outrun The Blues". It reminds me a bit of Clapton"s version of the Robert Johnson classic "They're Red Hot". This one flirts with the country side of the blues that was prevalent before the Chicago scene plugged in and changed the world. It features a fantastic rolling piano solo, a very bouncy sax solo and a world class country flavored slide guitar solo that sounds like it would be as comfortable in Memphis as it would be in Nashville. The band as a whole is quite solid and confidently struts through the songs with a brazen full sound. An overall good listen with fantastic musicianship. I found the instrumental passes of the album to be a cut above the typical blues band. I enjoyed the drive of the horns and rhythm section, while the solos gracefully added lots of color to the mix. If you are a fan of slide guitar check this record out.
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