Blind And Blues Bound is the debut disc of the Dr. Izzy Band. Word is that Dr. Izzy began to go blind at the age of nine and is now literally "blind and blues bound." Hence, the title.
The band consists of Dr. Izzy (lead vocals), Robert Morrison (guitars, vocals and cowbell), Kenny Passarelli (bass, Hammond organ, and piano) and Larry Thompson (drums). With a running time of close to 57 minutes, this twelve–track release is a healthy mix of blues rock, roots blues and Americana. The album leads off with "Matches Don't Burn Memories" which is a clever enough opening anthem about memories and regret highlighted by guest musician James Cotton on blues harp and Chrissie and Jason Thompson on backing vocals.
The second selection is "Soul Dance." It's a revelatory personal piece with a slightly Dorothy Parker-like Lyrical line regarding her cancer. It includes Anne Harris on violin and Rose Red Elk on backing vocals. It's also an early favorite of online critics.
The next number is "Been a Long Time Comin'," almost a prerequisite song that is basically built around a basic blues riff but the band makes it work. "Earth Bound" follows fresh with a bit more electric guitar and Milt Muth guests on bass and the Thompson "twins" encore on backing vocals.
"Old Black Crow," while somehow unsurprising and expected, works well as a musical metaphor. It features Otis Taylor on banjo as the listener soon finds himself in the midst of something that is part revival tent and part O Brother Where Art Thou? filtered through a small town, Texas upbringing.
"One Last Walk" is oddly placed considering the title but listeners won't get caught up on that. This is a blues-tinged ballad with a good guitar line. It's followed by "Mama Said" which has a down home, sittin' on the front porch, country catch to it no doubt due in part to the return of Harris on violin.
"Passion's Not a Crime" is both blues-tinged and yet country-like. "Dirt Bed" perhaps overshadows it slightly. Oddly enough there is something vaguely blues-Led Zeppelin-like about it if you listen carefully. Harris and the Thompsons return once more to fill in the blanks on this early fan favorite.
"Critic's Choice", however, goes to "Hang Tough." It seems to speak to the message the band's PR hints at and a mix of musical genres which might be why it works so well. The CD certainly needs something like this song.
The very vaguely reggae-rock tinted "It's Been Real" seems perfect for a closing cut and yet it isn't. Perhaps they didn't want to end on a negative note about a bad relationship. Still, it's certainly one of the best bits here.
The closing cut is "Your Redeemer." It is quiet yet subtly strong. Redemption is definitely a better note on which to close the work than regret and sarcasm. That much is unarguable.
Check out the original Blind And Blues Bound by the Dr. Izzy Band. You might just discover that Dr. Izzy is "Your Redeemer."