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."
Blind & Blues Bound - Dr. Izzy Band - New release review
I just received the newest release, Blind & Blues Bound, from Dr. Izzy Band and it's got spunk. Opening with Matches Don't Burn Memories, featuring Dr. Izzy on vocals and James Cotton ripping some great harp riffs over a solid 60's style guitar rocker. Sounding at times like Nugent or Marino, Robert Morrison cranks on the guitar. Soul Dance has a sultry feel of an 18th century ballad as articulated by the Brits in the 60's. A cool retro style track with violin and a crisp guitar solo. Been Long Time Comin' is built around a standard blues riff but with arpeggios. The Dr. has a clean vocal attack and Morrison over tracks his guitar solo's nicely creating an interesting weave. Earth Bound has a bit more sting with searing electric guitar work. A heavy bottom on this track gives it a Mountain like feel but Morrison's guitar work is succinct and different from Wests. Old Black Crow features Otis Taylor with a more modern but country R&B feel. Interesting twist. One Last Walk is a slow bluesy ballad with soulful vocals and a solid guitar line. Very nice. Mama Said has a down home country folk found with basic acoustic guitar, fiddle and vocals. Passion's Not A Crime is a solid country style vocal ballad with R&B basis. Nice backing and Muscle Shoals like guitar riffs compliment this track. Dirt Bed is my favorite track on the release with a bottom heavy (When the Levee Breaks) feel. Cool! Hang Tough has an interesting blend of rock, country, funk and pop. Likely the most radio track on the release with just the right kind of guitar riff to set it off. It's Been Real has a blended rock/reggae feel with 80's anthem overtones. Your Redeemer, a quiet but strong vocal blended ballad wraps the release trimmed only by light acoustic guitar.
A really nice in-depth interview - and, what we especially love, embedded music samples - on Colorado-based "Bluesacana" group, the Dr. Izzy Band, in a really neat Euro online monthly called Vents Magazine. Their 2-page spread is on Page 76 - http://ventsmagazine.com/magazine/
Here is a link to our interview that was aired earlier today in Texas and on the internet this coming Saturday on the "Spiceman Show" with Alonso Acosta. It was a great discussion, and we have been very pleased that Spiceman has been getting lots of request for Dr. Izzy music since he first started playing it a few weeks ago. Just copy and paste the URL address into your address box. Spiceman you rock!