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Boogie Bone - Bone-a-Fied

Independent release

13 tracks/54:25

Boogie Bone is a five-piece ensemble that hails from Portland, Oregon. The group favors rockin’ blues with a heavy beat on this program of original tunes written by guitarist Steven Dee Williams and associate producer Jason R. Pope. The rest of the band includes Howlin’ Jake Johnson on vocals, Todd “Spud” Stevens on drums, Henry Gavaldon on bass and Steve Synder on sax, harmonica, flute and keyboards. Synder also wrote all of the horn arrangements.

“Avenging Angel” is a fierce tune about an unusual subject, John Brown the abolitionist. Johnson weaves a vocal that shows he can live up to his nickname. The band hits the after-burners on “Lovin on the Run” with Synder’s tenor sax spicing up the rocking track. When the tempo slows down on “Don’t Mean a Thing”, Johnson delivers a sensitive vocal with Synder adding a sax solo that captures the late-night feel of the track. On “Boogie Bone Boogie”, the group explores the jump blues genre and turns in a performance that would have been a perfect fit for the soundtrack to the Swingers motion picture. Williams fires off a couple of brief but impressive guitar solos.
There are several tracks that venture away from the group’s boogie formula. “Long Goodbye” sports a Caribbean rhythm and features Synder on flute with Williams adding some acoustic slide guitar. The overall effect is the Beach Boys meet Jethro Tull in Jamaica! The closest they come to a ballad is “My Way Home” with another strong vocal from Johnson with his high-pitched voice and Synder switching to harp.

There are a couple of other highlights. “I Don’t Know” is another horn-driven arrangement and Synder shines again on his sax solo as does Williams, who gets some room to stretch out and rips off a blistering solo. The humorous “Blues Police” opens with a police siren and then shifts to the standard boogie chord structure. The lyrics tell the tale of a band working hard to satisfy the patrons of a club and keep the dance floor full, only to fall victim to club owner who accuses them of playing “. that damn rock & roll. “

One line telling adds: “We never thought there were so many rules about how you’re supposed to play the blues!”

Based on this recording, Boogie Bone seems to be one of those bands that can deliver a great live show. They mix appealing material and strong arrangements in a variety of styles into a coherent package that might not be all that unique but the spirited performances win out in the end. Their good-time, up tempo boogie sound on a weekend evening would certainly be the perfect antidote to the long work week!

Reviewer  Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL.

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