This is electric post-Chicago rock blues, y'all, and guitarist Jay Willie has been glomming a host of great influences: J. Geils, Johnny Winter, Elvin Bishop, Canned Heat, James Montgomery, Leslie West, Monkey Beat…in fact, New York Minute is the kind of stuff me and my co-substance-abusing buds (but, hey, we never inhaled!) used to motor up to The Whiskey to catch in our many pilgrimages to that hallowed shithole (Elmer Valentine wasn't exactly what one would dub a 'Humanitarian businessman' at any point). Well, Christ, no one gave a damn about the decor, only the music, and the Whiskey was unparalleled in getting the great acts, so several times a month, we wended our way to the venue. I several times caught John Mayall (once even with the Pure Food & Drug Act backing him!), Blood Sweat and Tears, Sweathog, Lee Michaels, and a buncha bluesrockers, there and elsewhere (Forum, Troub, Bowl, etc.), and the Jay Willie Blues Band woulda fit like hand in glove with those baddest actors.
The moody instrumental You Hurt Me might even be the best place to start here, as guest Jason Ricci pulls out a lamentive, weeping, garrulous harp delivering a righteously long narrative throughout the cut. This guy not only knows his chops but can also tell a whole damn wrenching story, and he…is…WORKING…it! He's not new to the scene, been around since '95 and involved in controversy (cool!), but this is most definitely a cat to watch very very closely. There's a quite sizeable soul-blues element present in the band as well, shown most clearly in the take on It's Your Thing, with drummer Bobby T. Torello doing a very credible Buddy Miles. Willie's not a Bloomfield, much more the Johnny Winter tear-it-up powerhouse kinda cat, but an old Harlem/NYC flavor pervades the cut nonetheless.
Jay has a gritty rough and tumble singing voice that only amplifies the Winter comparisons, especially in Champagne & Reefer, mirroring Johnny's peppery sass and wildcat yowl, but strong essences of Stan Webb (Chickenshack) and the whole lit-up 60s/70s old school crawls out of the Great Blue Beyond here, lurching into modernism to find equal vitality, almost as if snatched straight from the era itself, the recording echoing the day in various unfinished qualities. Nor are the band members lacking in writing abilities, all three in the basic unit contributing numbers indexing perfectly with the classics flanking them. Willie's own Best Side of You is a rib-tickler and highly distinctive, short but ear-catching, with chicken-picking, falsetto, and highstepping all included for the grinning side of your blues diet.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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