The Jazz Report
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Blues Money Review
Perhaps best known as a founding member of Whiskey Howl and later Wooden Teeth, veteran vocalist-harpist Michael Pickett has finally released his first CD. Blues Money is reflective of Pickett's Toronto musical roots: a mixture of songs featuring blues, funk, rock, gospel and even a taste of country.
Co-produced by the leader and Doug Romanow, this project has a warm, live feel that is not typical of today's blues-rock recordings, as it nevery substitutes aggression for feeling. But that is not to say this recording doesn't have any kick.
Pickett is ably supported by a choice selection of musicians on the 12 originals written or co-written by him. Guitarist Teddy Leonard plays hard on World Gone Crazy and Colin Linden contributes a playful acoustic slide solo to Work So Hard . Doug Riley's presence is felt on several tracks, boogeying hard on the '50-styled Memphis blues 1988 and adding his distinctive B3 sound to the rocker Call Your Name . Another standout is I Won't Be Your Fool, a deep soul blues with co-writer Richard Bell on piano and organ and a strong sax solo by John Johnson. The title track, which uses an unusual drum loop, is a slice of New Orleans funk that features Pickett's best vocal, backed by Molly Johnson.
Stylistically, Blues Money covers a broad spectrum of blues sounds. the unifying force of the recording is the leader's gritty but always musical vocals and his sharp to-the-point harp playing.
© 2006 Michael Pickett