Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Paul Marks And The Van Dorens
Blood And Treasure
www.paulmark.com

Seventh album in from Texan soul-blues troubadour shows expertly that filing under blues would do a great disservice to this dude by ensujring silence in many quarters. There’s a slew of treats for the unsuspecting here, Tex-Mex a la Los Lobos, cajunista and N’Orleans soul that leaves Van Morrison out to pasture in the wannabe field deserving a drubbing in the bull-pen and there’s more white-boy bar-band soul than Southside Johnny, and even Dr John but without the psychedelic gumbo mumbo (the loping pianner gait of I’m Still High that’ll stay in your system longer than a whole backstage gamut of intoxicating infusions and supposed though much surrendered-to solutions), both whom he pleasingly shares a similar acknowledgement of song over Walter Trout trad-white-blues histrionics, country choogling chuckles on the Just Because-based Wrong Pair Of Shoes, even splicing any cynical presuppositions with hints of both Tom Waits (on the mid-show romantic soliloquy Extraordinary Measures) and Santana meets the Vaughan's (closer Ruff House). An unexpectedly exhilarating ruckus-raising ride round all points South that avoids pastiche and evokes, nay incites, the spirit of the Texas Flood that streamed from, Stevie Ray and ensured he was so revered, with extra sly lashings of fun and feastivities, not least the many jocular but knowing asides referencing many old treasures. Superb.
Stu Gibson

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