Big Dave Mclean - Acoustic Blues
Given the rather generic packaging, you'd expect this to be another in the long list of tepid bar-band blues. Really, a pudgy white guy photographed, dobro in hand, on train tracks? What, no standin at the crossroads? Ah, but this particular white guy is Big Dave McLean, and while the cover art for "Acoustic Blues," his fifth release, may inspire a yawn, the blistering, passionate music inside will inspire some heavy listening.
A fixture on the Canadian blues ciruit and beyond for thrity-something years, McLaean knows how to handle a guitar, a blues song, and that ragged but right voice of his. You are bowled over right from the opener "Sometimes," which announces itself with some raw, killer slide. While that intensity is not sustained all the way through, the passion and obvious joy in the delivery. McLean's playing ( both guitar and harp) has an edge that is both his own signature, and a nod to the past. The past is also close by in the setlist as well, as McLean mixes in covers of Muddy Waters, Lightnin Hopkins and the tragically underappreciated Barbeque Bob among originals like "Mop," "Paper Angel" and "Stopn Ash'n On The Dog."
With humor, serious chops and a reverence for the history of country blues, Big Dave McLean is both historian and living symbol of the genre. "Acoustic Blues" is a fun, reverent but raucous release. Now if only Stony Plain would do something about the packaging....
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