5BN-Sonny Boy Gumbo

27 December 2015

Sonny Boy Gumbo's Blues - Pat Loiselle

Pat Loiselle Sonny Boy Gumbo Blues
Photo: Phil Brisse
Pat Loiselle has been playing in the Montreal and Quebec music scene for 20+ years, and has appeared on many albums of other folks. For his first solo album, he made the choice to do a combination of original and cover songs, because he wanted to show where he came from musically.

Covers start the album off, with Bo Diddley’s ‘Pretty Thing’, and John Brim’s ‘Tough Times’, which are very well played, using an arrangement close to the originals.

Another cover follows, ‘Cry to Me’, by Burt Russell. This was covered by the Stones, but Pat chose to do an arrangement that sounds more like an arrangement done by Solomon Burke in 1962, which is quite different, with a little guitar strumming added. Good choice Pat.

‘Nicky’s Shuffle’ follows, an original co-written with Nicky Estor, a well-known Montreal based drummer, but who also plays organ on this track. It is, as you can imagine, a shuffle.

Three more covers follow, ‘Lonesome Dog Blues’ by Lightnin’ Hopkins, ‘Catfish Blues’ by Robert Petway, and ‘No Expectations’ by Jagger/Richards. Once more, he remains faithful to originals here, and show great taste in choice for this album. I especially like the guitar work on ‘No Expectations’.

It should be noted that some folks may not like these old school blues tunes as much as a real blues aficionado will, but they are certainly also worth hearing by those who want to learn about the old blues, and how it really used to sound.

A foot stomping country influenced original, ‘Rusty ‘n’ Young’, follows with Pat on the mandolin, one of many instruments he plays.

Next up is another original, ‘Dreamin Of My Cheesecake’, a harmonica and upright bass duet with vocals, with a good harmonica solo.

With the traditional ‘You Gotta Move’, Pat does his own arrangement, featuring Ria Reece singing excellent backup vocals. Another of my favourites of the album.

The Elmore James classic that has been covered by many other famous artists, like Muddy Waters, Cream, Bob Dylan, The Tedeschi Trucks Band, The North Mississippi All Stars, is Pat’s next choice, which may seem a bit daring considering that list. But Pat pulls it off again, actually sounding very close to Mr James himself.

‘Southbound’, a tune from folk duo Merle and Doc Watson, is a slightly different arrangement from the original, with a banjo and harmonica added, and shows off more of Mr Loiselle’s multi-instrumental talents. 

The last tune, ‘Slide ‘n’ Smile’, is an original done in the style of Muddy Waters ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’, with more great harmonica playing.

To sum it up, I am glad Pat decided to finally do an album of his own, really like the concept he did here, and am looking forward to more.
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