Big Dave McLean is a veteran of the Canadian blues scene who makes his debut for Black Hen with a typically “blues-infested” offering that showcases his gritty vocals and stellar guitar skills.
Steve Dawson has surrounded McLean with quality musicians for this highly impressive set featuring his own guitar wizardry and the talents of Kevin McKendree, Colin James and the McCrary Sisters amongst many others.
The set opens with the traditional ‘Tough Times’, a Muddy influenced number replete with gutbucket vocals and National Steel, reverberating baritone guitar with McKendree’s organ providing the glue that binds it all together.
Tampa Red’s ‘Dead Cat On The Line’ finds McLean duetting with Dawson on a jug-band swinger fuelled by National Steel, banjo and mandolin (Colin James) – ‘Don’t Get Mad, Get Even’ is a steady rocking roadhouse blues enhanced by McKendree’s rolling Crescent City piano – whilst Tom Waits’ ‘Mr Siegal’ is given a Tampa Red feel accentuated by Steve Dawson’s banjo. The combination of McLean’s rough-hewn vocals and The McCrary’s gospel inflected harmonising gives ‘Oh-Mr Charlie-Oh’ a work-song feel – Skip James ‘Devil Got My Woman’ finds McLean at his most melancholy – whilst Ray LaMontagne’s ‘Devil’s In The Jukebox’ is a roadhouse swinger fuelled by wailing slide and “popping” organ.
If you have not heard McLean before, I urge you to buy this and guarantee you will not be disappointed.