Crossroads Blues Society
Big Dave McLean comes to us from Winnipeg. He has been playing blues for many decades, and supporting the blues scene in Canada. He made several recordings for Stony Plain over the last few decades. Overall he has had seven records. This is his first recording for Black Hen Music, and was recorded in Nashville. Half of the songs are originals. Big Dave plays guitar and harmonica on the recording. Steve Dawson produced and played on the CD. Colin James and Colin Linden provide support on the disc also. The opening song is a public domain tune called "Tough Times." It is straight up 12 bar blues. This one is powerful. "I Best Choose to Pick the Blues" is a Big Dave original. It picks up the pace of the record with some fine slide guitar (Colin Linden) and harmonica work. Tampa Red wrote "Dead Cat On The Line." It is done in a picking bluegrass style. Colin James supports with mandolin. The CD gets its first electric cut with Big Dave original "The Fallen." The steel guitar work by Steve Dawson is great. The song reminds me of Spencer Bohren from New Orleans. "Sittin' On A Fence" is a country blues mid tempo tune. It is written by Vince Andrushko, a solo country artist. I like "Don't Get Mad, Get Even." The pace picks up with it, and a more urban feel. Ray LaMontange wrote "Devil's In the Jukebox." It features strong slide work by Dawson, and some good lyrics. The 8th cut is "One More Day" written by Oliver Wood (The Wood Brothers). It has a country/gospel feel to it, and fits in well with the entire CD. Tom Waits provides the next tune "Mr. Siegal." This song slides all the way to the end of the Mississippi with its New Orleans feel. Steve Dawson provides some fine banjo. The McCrary Sisters add vocals to "Shades of Grace." This original has fine gospel influenes in it, though it borrows from "Amazing Grace." The McCrary Sisters remain on the old gospel type tune "Oh-Mr. Charlie-Oh." This song has a great old gospel/work song feel to it. Steve Dawson again supplies some haunting guitar work. The final cut is the Skip James classic "Devil Got My Woman." Big Dave goes solo here on acoustic steel guitar. I normally like a more up tempo tune for the finale, but it certainly goes with the flow of the CD. This CD is a fine set of Delta and country blues. It goes back to the past, and brings in some younger new songs too. If you like this type of blues, run and grab this CD. It is very well done.