Title: Another Harvest From Chuck's Vaults of Gold
By James Walker
Charles Goering, better known in the blues piano world as Barrelhouse Chuck is a living legacy. One of the few Chicago blues pianists to have studied under Sunnyland Slim, Pinetop Perkins, Lafayette Leake, Little Brother Montgomery, Blind John Davis,and Detroit JR, Barrelhouse Chuck draws on this distinguished lineage to create a blues, boogie-woogie and barrelhouse piano style that places him among blues piano's contemporary elite.
The CD is simply top-notch blues as well as a document to many of the long passed artists with whom Goering played. To release his sixth album of Chicago Blues with himself on each ensemble's piano, Barrelhouse Chuck Goering decided to mine his vast archive of previous sessions, dating back to 1980.
Slowdown Sundown required a lot of searching on Goering's part to find equipment that can play some of his archived tapes' out-of-date recording formats. He then fed the signals into digital mixing equipment and tweaked any sound flaws with the popular Pro Tools program.
His long list of collaborators includes names such as legendary Muddy Waters drummers Willie "Big Eyes" Smith and S.P. Leary and, alum on bass, Calvin Jones. Other notables included are: Wisconsin guitar virtuoso Billy Flynn, Otis "Smokey" Smothers, multi-Handy Award winning bassist Willie Kent, Handy nominee Johnny B. Moore, fellow longtime Chicago piano student-become-master Erwin Helfer, Hashbrown, and Rick Holmes. Lesser known artists do not play lesser, witness Josh Miller's slide guitar on "B.B.Q. Girl (Live)."
"I Keep on Drinking" kicks off the album with B. Chuck, solo on vocals and piano. The tone on Little Brother Montgomery's "... Drinking" is surpisingly crisp and classy, not rude and raunchy. Remaining true to form, the rest of Slowdown Sundown sizzles with suave style. "...Drinking" is the kind of number one might have heard at an upscale nightclub in the 1930s and '40s, back when big city blues had finesse. Barrelhouse Chuck's irresistible here with his understated vocals and piano.
"Mt. St. Helens Blues"- Check out this History lesson, a vocalization about a volcano! The best parts of this nature-inspired ditty are Barrelhouse Chuck's rumbling piano and John Tanner's hot harmonica. "Mt. St. Helens: she's a tough old girl, don't you know?" comments lead vocalist Robert Hunter, perhaps remembering the mountain's major blast on May 18, 1980. "The last time she blew her top, she left nothing standing for miles around!"
"Farfisa B3 Boogie for Steve Winwood," "Viola's Stomp," and "Nutty Boogie"-Play these three instrumentals as a trio in order to get a taste of the most classic Chuck. Barrelhouse is perhaps most famous for this swing instruments, and for good reason. Farfisa B3..." is so catchy, so techno-sounding, and so short that it might on your next video games soundtract. A Farfisa is an organ from Italy. say's Goering . "I'm one of the only guy's in the blues playing one. Everyone likes their Hammond, and god bless them all, but the Farfisa, to me- first of all it is more portable- it's got a real nasty, greasy tone. It's not jazzy"
The fantastic " Viola's Stomp" is jazzy with Goering's left hand running the bass line and the roght hand peeling notes off the treble end of the keyboard. "Nutty Boogie" is good too, but the dance inducer might have the listener renameing it " Butt shaking boogie"
The Ventures " Walk,Don't run" redone here as " Walk don't run 69" was a big hit surf instrumental. Barrelhouse chuck and Billy Flynn on guitar and bass and Kenny Smith on drums create a incredible cover with real pizzazz. Barrelhouse's jolly Farfisa organ and Flynn's playful guitar will sendone "back to the beach" riding some daydreaming brain waves!
Slowdown Sundown concludes with a hidden track bonus: a string of phone messages left by some of his old timer's famous friends. Smokey Smother's humorous message reveals a man who had the music in him, and possibly pint or two as well. This CD is a must for all blues fans everywhere!