As the MapleBlues team adjusts to the loss of our esteemed reviewer, JV, it is important that blues artists and their labels make sure that TBS is getting your new release in good time so that it can be assigned to one of the pool of knowledgeable blues influencers who we will call upon for reviews. Thanks this month to Eric Thom, Cindy McLeod, Sandra B. Tooze and TBS Prez Derek Andrews.

Such a great idea for Tony D to reveal himself as much more than a primate with the release of this multi-hued retrospective, displaying his passion and abilities across all styles of guitar. First enamoured of Tony Diteodoro’s many talents with his solo releases from back in ’93 and ’94, he was then – as he is now – a musical adventurer. His early blues output leaned towards the Hendrix/SRV side of the tracks. Yet, this disc clearly reveals talents above and beyond this stereotype over the past 20 years, revealing a softer side demonstrating both accelerated guitar skills, having taken to heart the influences of such diverse players as Django Reinhardt, Paco de Lucia, Charlie Byrd and even Andrés Segovia. Who knew? Those looking for their blues fix will love the slowed-down, uptown groove of “Fat City Blues”, featuring an old-school guitar-sax duel with Zeek Gross. For the blues rockers, “Amigo’s Fandango”, “Blues Party” and the slow, slippery “Turn Out The Lights” will satisfy while the only ‘new’ track – the co-written “’70’s Big Muff” – namechecks Hendrix and SRV complete with a Joe Walsh drive-by. This is what wah-wah pedals were made for. Yet, in full blues furor, Mr. D switches gears with the delicate, flamenco-flavoured “Blue Gypsy” from his days in the James Cohen Caravan. This lovely melody is immersed in colourful, acoustic fingerstyle guitar, piano and accordion (Richard Bell) and added guitar from Cohen, from back in ’03. If that doesn’t give your head a shake, delight in the similarly exotic “Argentinean Surf Tango” – and if a title could tell it all, this comes close – same time, same players. Who knew that Ottawa had its own Hot Club?
“See Me Thru” skirts jazz in a flamenco vein while “Little Saint” takes D’s guitar more toward classical guitar, as James Cohen adds rhythm. You’ll run looking for a rose to put in your teeth. A lovely surprise is found in the offbeat “Swank” – a ‘70’s soul, funk and rock concoction featuring killer organ/baritone guitar and drums by Monkeyjunk alumnae Steve Marriner and Matt Sobb, co-writers. A barnburner unto itself, Tony brings it down with an acoustic rendition of “Argentinean Surf Tango”, featuring guest guitar from James Cohen and bittersweet accordion from the late Richard Bell.
With special thanks for the Tom Snyder throwback, Speak No Evil is a compulsory revelation that any self-respecting guitar fan must own – especially in light of the unavailability of most of these earlier recordings. An eye-opening release from one of Canada’s best players. (Eric Thom)