Eric Steiner Cosmik Debris March 2004
Take a Ride with Blue Voodoo - it's an outstanding debut roots record that shoul
The Blue Voodoo hail from the Delta area near Vancouver, British Columbia, but they've got the acoustic blues of the Mississippi Delta in their blood. The Canadian blues community has been under this quartet's spell, and has honored Blue Voodoo with a nomination as the Best New Artist or Group of the Year at the 2004 Maple Blues Awards hosted by the Toronto Blues Society. While the Rockit 88 band won, Blue Voodoo have garnered quite a following throughout Canada and the Northwestern US. They were also selected as the principal entertainer for Joni Mitchell's 60th birthday celebration at the Ruby Lake Resort, on B.C.'s Sunshine Coast. Sample "Roberts Blues" online at www.thebluevoodoo.com and you'll get a feel for this quartet and its passion for acoustic music. Take a Ride with Blue Voodoo - it's an outstanding debut roots record that should be on a big record label.
All in all a top-notch effort, well worth seeking out.
The Blue Voodoo
(Independent Release - PM11122)
by John Taylor
Review date: December 2003
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
Although it may not be apparent at first glance, there are significant similarities between Canada's west coast and the swamps of Louisiana. Both are damp, mist-shrouded places where mystery is an almost palpable presence, where the world seems somehow older and utterly indifferent to human foibles.
Which may, in part, explain why "Ride," the debut disc from Vancouver's The Blue Voodoo, sounds as though it was recorded under the same hoodoo moon that shines on the swamps.
The Blue Voodoo are a trio; Rick Dalgarno contributes guitars, dobro, bass, and harmonica, Ted Tosoff handles guitars and bass, and Chris Weekes accounts for percussion and djembe. All three take turns at vocals, while various guests contribute fiddle, accordion, violin, mandolin, and harmonica.
Almost all of the instrumentation on "Ride" is acoustic, including the aforementioned percussion (in other words, don't take that as a fancy word for drummer). It's all mixed into a cheerfully inclusive gumbo with the result an utterly unique sound. The roots are in the blues, but this is by no means another collection of tired riffs shoehorned into a twelve-bar structure. There's country and Cajun in there too, and the boys aren't at all afraid to borrow the tunefulness of pop where appropriate.
Songwriting seems to be a collaborative effort, as no individual writing credits are provided. The tunes, most in a darker vein, flirt with the line between damnation and salvation, between desperation and a longing for grace. There are shades of Tom Waits here (or, better, Frank Morey), as evidenced in such lines as "I've got enough tequila in me to knock on her door / But after that I couldn't do much more." They're songs from society's underbelly, the territory of life's losers who wish but don't dare hope for redemption. Yet there's hope, if only of a qualified sort; the disc's closer, "South of orleans (shine on)", with its anthemic refrain, doesn't quite guarantee better days to come but at least holds the promise that tomorrow's tale is yet to be written.
Arrangements, again credited to all involved, combine the kind of hooks that seem to sink deeper with each listen with intelligent allocation of resources, from the haunting strains of violin to the melancholy accordion. Mr. Weekes' innovative percussion is an integral element in the musical tapestry, and Mr. Dalgarno's guitar work is exemplary; witness his solo of breathtaking facility on "Bad News," the tune closest to a straight blues, and the Spanish accents he employs to wonderful effect on "Blue Latin Moon."
By no means a blues disc, there's nonetheless much for blues fans to like here, and fans of either Tom Waits or his anointed successor, Frank Morey, will love it. All in all a top-notch effort, well worth seeking out.
Telephone: 604-830-3867 / 604-590-8848