Blues Bytes
Phoenix, AZ, USA
July 2000
Conversation With The Blues review

'Best Blues Album', 'Best Blues Song', 'Best Harmonica Player' ...  Michael Pickett's Blues Money raked up the honors at the 1998 Maple Blues Awards (the Canadian Handy Awards). The veteran harpist is back with Conversation With The Blues (Wooden Teeth Records), a CD on which he showcases his singing and songwriting skills more than his harmonica playing. (He also plays resophonic guitar on three tracks.) In the song-by-song notes he wrote for the booklet, Pickett makes a couple of references to Taj Mahal, which is fitting for at least two reasons. First, Pickett's voice has something of the smoky quality of Taj Mahal's, and second, like on the latter's recent Señor Blues, he widens the definition of blues to include more R&B-flavored numbers, with lots of horns. Whatever you want to call the music, the rhythm section (usually Gary Craig on drums, Steve Chadwick on bass, with help from guitarist S hawn Kellerman and Pickett himself, riffing on his harp) knows a good groove when it finds one! Listen to Love Don't Mean It , It Don't Matter to Me , and Bad Love (the latter featuring some fancy work on the mandolin, courtesy of Kevin Breit ) for proof. These songs could go on forever, you'd still be there bopping your head. All in all, an excellent showcase for a multi-talented musician.

Benoit Briere


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