The Gazette
Montreal, QC, Canada
August 17, 2000
Conversation With The Blues review

Michael Pickett, a veteran of various Toronto blues bands, emerged a couple of years ago with a Juno-nominated CD that quickly placed the singer, songwriter and harmonica player in the front ranks of Canada's top blues artists.  This follow-up roams all over the blues map and will do much to solidify Pickett's reputation.

Most of the arrangements feature Pickett's expressive voice and harmonica in blues conversations with tight studio bands, particularly highlighted by the Hammond organ playing of Bill McCauley .  They rock the blues on Big Train , swing the blues on It Don't Matter To M e and find a nice R&B groove on When I Lay My Burden Down .  On a few songs, Pickett also picks on an acoustic resophonic guitar.

Most of the tunes on the disc are Pickett originals, but he ends the 61-minute outing with a couple of solid covers.  Memphis Slim's often-recorded Mother Earth is given a soulful, almost-epic, big-band treatment, while Doug Riley and Molly Johnson's Night Comes finds Pickett alone with Riley's piano in a lonely, wee-hour mode.

Mike Regenstreif


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