Andy Just has been my friend, my running buddy, and my opponent in many harmonica sword-fights for more than half my life. He snuck up behind me with that Turbo-Charged tone, and blew the house down! And while he's taken his signature sound around the globe and back, I'm proud to say, he's still my Homey- Go get 'em, A.J.
(Long regarded as the Godfather of West Coast Blues Harmonica)
Andy is one of the great harp players out there today. His passion is deep and his technique is derived from countless years of performing in an effort to move people. His tone is strong but he is sensitive at the same time as every great player should be.
(Leader of Rod Piazza &The Mighty Flyers Blues Quartet, one of the best and most distinctive blues bands today)
With one foot firmly planted in the classic blues harp tradition and the other one dancing around freely on the cutting edge, progressive side of things, Andy Just has with "Electric Roots", put together a collection of songs that showcase sides of his harmonica prowess and musical artistry that I've never heard before, yet there's no mistaking it...this is Andy Just, retro-style this time! The results greatly surprised me, and let me tell you...this is my kind of music!! More than ever before, Andy goes way back on this release, often evoking the styles of originators like Sonny Boy Williamson and Sonny Terry (just check out "Chicken"), but instead of merely copying the old masters, Andy infuses his own unique style into the mix, and to me, that's what being a relevant blues musician is all about. I would be remiss if I failed to mention the work of Andy's accompanists on this CD. It constantly blows my mind that there are guitar players like Tiziano Galli and Max De Bernardi in a country as far away from the cradle of the blues as Italy, and these guys have clearly done their homework, even more so than several seasoned and much more recognized American blues musicians. Guest vocalist (and kazoo player!!) Veronica Sbergia provides a breath of fresh air on "Drink Too Much", one of the many memorable tracks on "Electric Roots", and the ensemble playing on this selection is quite impressive. The improvisational ideas just don't ever seem to end, a feeling I'm left with throughout almost the whole album. Where does Andy get it from? Most harmonica players will start repeating themselves after just a few rounds of solos, yet with Andy they just seem to continue flow effortlessly and being the technical wizard that he is, he appears to be able to just play whatever comes to him at any given time!
The band switch gears after that and get into a classic lo-fi electric vibe that is reminiscent of Jerry McCain's Excello sound. Once again, the whole band is given a chance to prove their mastery of vastly different styles of the blues, and they do so with conviction and enthusiasm. It's good stuff, once again, right up my alley, and if you're a fan of the real blues, and not the 70's rock sounding "blues" that seems to dominate the airwaves today, you will find yourself with kindred spirits in the company of Andy and his band.
This is anything but a one-dimensional record, and if you're a fan of the REAL deal in blues, you could do a lot worse than spending some time with Mr.Just and his gang!
A special mention should be given to the production and recording too, there is no doubt that these guys along with producer extraordinaire Tano Ro, have listened to an old record or two in their time. That is all too rare a quality to find in a blues recording today, yet it makes all the difference in the world! This CD really shines the spotlight on Andy's love of the classic harmonica blues of the days of yore, and I don't know about you, but in my book, there is no greater music in the world, and Andy and the band really give it their all!
What more could you ask for???
Rick “Good Time” Estrin
(One of the very best harp players, singers and songwriters in the blues world today, leader of Rick Estrin & The Nightcats)
California’s Andy Just is best-known as a high energy, no- quarter, blues wailing harpman and singer, but this set is something a little more unexpected among his large discography. This is Andy the down-home bluesman, with raw accompaniment from just guitar and drums, or, on four tracks, the loose, fun-filled sound of the Red Wine Serenaders, with vocalist Veronica Sbergia. The result is a richly varied album that maintains interest throughout and remains unpredictable – the opener sounds a little like Big Walter Horton’s early 50s recordings, whilst ‘Dirty Mother Fuyer’, sung by Veronica, allows space for Andy’s high-end Will Shade type licks, and some fine slide guitar from Max De Bernardi. Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘Well, That’s Alright’ and ‘How Much More’ continue the Memphis groove – lovely rhythm guitar from Tiziano Galli – and then it is into Andy’s solo country blues, ‘Chicken’. So hopefully you are now getting the picture; and that’s without the great Slim Harpo sound of ‘Layin’ Sick Bed Blues’. In case you are still wondering though, the liner notes are courtesy of none other than the great Rick Estrin – and that also exemplifies the love and care that has gone into this highly recommended release.