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Dan Treanor, Creighton Holley, Kyle Roberts - American Primative

Plan-It Records


The latest from blues journeyman Dan Treanor who is known for the African influences and instruments incorporated into his music. This time out that influence is seen mostly in the percussion. Harmonica and slide guitar are his primary tools throughout abetted by his use of banjo, Khalam, keys, diddley bow and bass. Creighton Holley's self assured husky voice lends itself to this modern take on the delta blues, as well as playing electric guitar. The percussion that drives the tunes is provided by Kyle Roberts. Various guest musicians lend the appropriate coloring when needed. With the arsenal of instruments the songs never feel cluttered. Slide guitar, harmonica and mandolin drift up and down in the mix.

Much of this record brings to mind a less edgy Otis Taylor in the instrumentation as well as in the topics presented. The intro to the lead off track "Took The Wrong Road" sounds like Pops Staples' "World In Changes" if memory serves. This song begins our trip thru the delta. The interweaving of slide, harp and electric give life to the songs. On "Duckin' And Dodgein" the slide and electric guitar have a dogfight. Although credited to Treanor on the sleeve notes "Brand New Walking Blues" and "Serves You Right" are updates of the originals. Done for the umpteenth time this "New Walking Blues" is powered along by African-ish percussion and handclaps. "You Can't Outrun The Blues" is a welcome addition to the blues will getcha category of tunes.

The addition of the Village East Baptist Choir to "Motherless Child" melds well with harp and snaky slide for a gospel-meets-delta voyage. "Serves You Right" with its' banjo-mandolin-harp mix sounds like a sprightly, eclectic song from Harry Manx. "Tangled Road" calls up the Otis Taylor reference with it's haunting answer vocals and violin supplied by Lionel Young. As seen on "Poor Man's Sentence" and others here Holley's electric playing compliment the acoustic sounds rather than adding a rock sound. A song about the downtrodden with a slight Yardbirds groove to the underlying riff. Train sound effects lead into "South Bound Train" one of the staples of old time blues the ever present train tune replete with Sonny Terry harmonica. What sounds like a kalimba(African thumb piano) takes us to the islands for a bit of Calypso blues with "Sunshine Galore".....'Come to dee islands mon'. "Big Bayou" visits The Big Easy with a fine second line shuffle by Kyle Roberts and sax supplied by Sonny Espinosa.

"Ain't It A Pity" pares down the blues to electric, slide and acoustic guitars sparring over minimal percussion. The cliched lyrics of "Everything About You" mar an otherwise slinky tune. Dan himself steps out for a vocal (?) turn on "1969". Heck the guy gives note perfect guitar and harmonica throughout, he's entitled to one misstep with his hushed weak vocal. It dosen't take away from his sentimental memories of his stint in Vietnam. It's the thought that counts.

I don't think Treanor will ever run out of musical ideas and his choice of outstanding singers to relate his blues stories. He comes up with another keeper here.

Reviewer Greg 'Bluesdog' Szalony is from the New Jersey Delta. He is the proprietor of Bluesdog's Doghouse at


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