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Eddie Turner - Miracles and Demons

Northern Blues Records

13 tracks; 54:24 minutes; Splendid

Style: Contemporary Electric Blues, Blues-Rock, Jazz, R&B

So much Blues; so little time! My apologies go to Eddie Turner for being a late arrival at his party. I missed his first two CDs, and have only now caught up with album number three (since 2005), all on the Northern Blues label. My publisher had been telling me for two years how I have been missing out.

I discovered that Eddie Turner is anything but stale! He is inventive, experimental, edgy, yet well rooted. His intellect and sense of adventure have taken him, along with producer and fellow musician (keyboards, bass, vocals, arrangements) Kenny Passarelli, into some sonic territories that are pleasantly different in texture with only smidges of excess here and there. His sounds are impossible to ignore; the nuances are simply attention grabbing. Turner’s website bio explains, “His ethereal style is an amalgam of the [born-in-Cuba-raised-in-Chicago,] Afro-Cuban rhythms of his heritage and the music that influenced him as a teenager: Chicago Blues, Jazz, R&B, and Psychedelic Rock.

Some sounds are haunting, some exhilarating, some Jimi Hendrix shrill, and all with a solid and intricate rhythm section courtesy of Marc Clarke - Latin congas and percussion, Mark Clark – drums, and Jimmy Trujillo – bass. Tim Stroh is listed as co-producer.
Here is master song craftsmanship on display – the dance between Turner’s arsty lyrics, lead vocals and vocal harmonies, and the musical score. For example, try “Miss Carrie” for a song where waves of sound from blended layers of lush organ, guitar, and percussion wash over the listener like waves of water on the edge an ocean beach. Forty years ago, a reviewer of a song like this would suggest that it be heard best while stoned.

“Miracles and Demons” is a set of thirteen originals exploring the paradoxes and polar extremes in a lifelong need for love. There’s both pleasure and pain and, “walking [in] through [Turner’s] door,” both Miracles and Demons. The title track is divided into Parts one and two, and it is where you’ll hear experimental sounds (especially Part two) beside some deft acoustic guitar. Try “Mr. Blues” for more feedback guitars.

While this album is not straight up Blues, the first song is – until the final seven seconds. Kicking off with normal-enough-sounding guitar and a shuffle rhythm, “Booty Bumpin’” will please any purist. The final seven seconds sound a little like a record being played backwards. I think it is Turner’s way of telling us there is much more coming from him and his mates than “normal.”

First to be played on the Friends of the Blues Radio Show this Saturday night will be “Ride a Painted Pony” with its swampy rhythm. Full of shimmering guitar and a killer mid-song solo, “...Pony” finds Turner singing about a titillating “Miss Rosie.”

I must also play “Say” which opens with slide guitar before breaking into a Funk filled, guitar variety showcase. “Because of You” has a mellow groove to support the lyrics of the narrator confessing he has been a fool “because of you.” Ear-worm catchy is “I Remember” with a R&B groove and soft, but wailing guitar.

Some refer to Eddie Turner as a guitar god. He's been profiled in Blues Revue, Guitar Edge, and has been reviewed in almost every guitar magazine. This CD is not straight-ahead Blues, but its meld of styles is interesting and very entertaining. I probably was not supposed to like this album, but I found most of it intoxicatingly enjoyable!.

Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and longtime Blues Blast Magazine contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at in Kankakee, IL.

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