One of the club scene highlights for the past couple of years has been Paul Reddick’s regular gig at The Sauce on Danforth. In lieu of those evenings he has now taken to YouTube to give us a taste every week and we also get a full live album, only one recorded in Italy while on tour there last year. Paul has chosen songs from his full five albums so far. Steve Marriner has long been his accompanist at the Sauce and Steve is joined by fellow MonkeyJunk guitarist Tony D. On bass and drums are an Italian rhythm section that Paul has used on several tours, they call themselves The Gamblers: Gab D. on bass and Andrea Constanza on drums. This show was recorded last November 10 in Novara, Italy. For those you who have come to know Paul after his JUNO win for Ride the One, you’ll find a wealth of songs, performed in much the same manner by this excellent band. As befits the originator and moving force behind the Cobalt Prize for extending the boundaries of blues songwriting, Reddick’s work repays careful attention. He is a poet, very often creating from the kinds of songs found in The Lomax Field Recordings. This was more the case for his earlier albums than it is currently but he has kept the spare sound and developed an unmistakable brand of blues, often keeping the one chord structures. Perhaps for Paul Reddick more than most blues musicians the words and music are very much part of his performance art. In Tony D and Steve Marriner he has found players who can give him exactly what he needs. You will rarely find two guitarists who work so well together. The Gamblers are there every step of the way as well. With the guitarists soloing wonderfully and extensively and with Reddick playing lots of harp, the songs get lengthy new treatments. Some highlights for me include “Sleepy John Estes” from Rattlebag, the slightly faster version of “Mourning Dove”, from Ride the One. The stripped-down arrangement given “Villanelle”, from that album is a keeper as well. The closer to standard blues rock, for Paul anyway, is “The Other Man”, from Wishbone, which opens with Paul on chromatic harp and adds a third guitarist from The Gamblers, Fabio Marzaroli. And then there’s Marriner’s Spanish-tinged solo on “Smokehouse”. This is a very much welcome live journey through his blues landscape.

August 2020 - Cootes Paradise
August 2020 - Downchild