Steeped in the roots traditions of American folk, rock, country, blues, and jazz, Allen Finney emerges with unique expressions in his own musical style. Some compare his voice and vision to J.J. Cale's and Bob Dylan's.
His previous CD Laying My Monkey Down, with Fat City Blues, was the first to feature only his original songs. Now he returns with an all-acoustic set, Allen Finney and EBB, showcasing his more recent material. Eric's Bluesband accompanies him unplugged with a fresh, immediate sound.
Allen Finney and EBB
Daddy longlegs Productions/Blaze records DLPCD002 (47 min)
On this new product, Allen Finney takes a break from his usual band Fat City Blues and is found in an environment with some of the younger generation of musicians within Swedish blues. The three capital letters EBB stand for Eric's Blues Band. Together with Allen Finney, however, they don't sound as we are normally used to hearing them. Here they have left the Hendrix influences and taken the step down into roots music, in the mix of blues, folk, a bit of country roots, and singer/songwriter tradition. Allen is responsible for the songs and Eric Hansson for production and musical arrangement. As a matter of fact, Eric already began playing live with Allen when he was fourteen. So they are old acquaintances that meet here.
If I would appoint one of the year's discs as a companion disc to Dylan's Modern Times, then it would be this one. I didn't think about it previously, but the fact is that they resemble each other in their voices, and Finney proves that he is a songwriter of rank with this disc. Allen's vocal performances are also considerably stronger here than on the Fat City discs.
Finney has composed twelve of the thirteen tracks. The thirteenth is a very good version of the traditional "St. James Infirmary." The opening half-quick "Don't Look Down at Your Shoes" moves forward on a wave of fine acoustic guitar and an effective refrain. With good songs and fine performances of the accompanying EBB, the disc continues forward to the finishing finely-tuned and delicate harmonica and piano ballad "Fate Steps In."
Henning Axelsson takes out the accordion in "Jim Dandy" and is responsible for extra enjoyable piano playing on the rest of the disc, especially in the rhythm and bluesy "Never Too Late to Get Straight." Allen Finney shines on the harmonica with the good solos in the country rock "Big Wind" and the slow blues "Mama Had the Blues." Eric's guitar playing must also be mentioned, for whether it is on the acoustic nylon stringed or on the resonator, it gives thrills. For example, listen to "Minimal City," with a fierce short solo on the steel-strung acoustic, or to his resonator in the country blues "Little Mistakes." Sweaty!
In a just world, this disc would get as much attention as "brother Dylan's" latest.
Jefferson, Nordic Magazine for the Blues, No. 150, Winter 2006, Issue 39