James Anthony (Pecchia) is a veteran Burlington player who is one of the busiest bluesmen around, just check out his web site. He’s played reggae with Jay Douglas, was a member of Edward Bear and of Mondo Combo. He later opened a guitar store in Cambridge and recording studio. He recorded and performed with Kris St. Louis, the schoolteacher/blues guitarist and Women’s Blues Revue alumna.  In 2013, he was inducted into the American International Blues Hall of Fame in Detroit. Over his career he has released eleven albums, available from his web site or, more usually, just from the stage. Like many of his peers, after the production run is gone, so is the album – just two are at the web site now. In a smart move, he has assembled some highlights for us to enjoy. The opening blues has his electric lead guitar attractively accompanied by a National Steel. “Look a Little Closer” has an effective lyric about being worth a second look despite his faults. “(It’s) Cold Inside (now that she’s gone)”, turns to some soul blues with a full horn section – very nice. A lovely soul ballad follows with “Is There Room for Me”, organ and piano plus backup singers backed up by his electric slide make for another highlight here. A clever paean to his guitar is one of the few uptempo numbers: “If Tele Could Talk” has some pretty fancy picking to go with its witty double entendres. Perhaps the most memorable melody on the album is the one for “You Don’t Talk to Me”, a radio friendly toe-tapper. There are a couple of songs from the recent Jazz at Seven, (“Having a Real Bad Day” & “Date with the Blues”) and their inclusion probably best reflects what he was doing then but “Never Had the Blues” would have been my choice. “Who’s Doin’ Who”, “It Ain’t True” and “Enough is Enough” are harder (earlier?) blues performances, with harp & slide guitar, compared to the smoother sounds on the disc but they do feel very satisfying. You should try to check him out because he’s a very good songwriter and these songs deserve wider attention, he might even be performing closer than you think. The web site is www.jamesanthony.ca. 

August 2019 - Whitey Somers
August 2019 - Billy Branch