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Phil Gates – Addicted To The Blues

Self Release 2010

12 tracks, 43.03 minutes.


Phil Gates is a Chicago native but has been based in LA since the late 80’s. He is an experienced session musician whose ‘day job’ in the aerospace industry seems to have given him a solid background in the technical aspects of recording. Phil has previously produced four solo albums, a film soundtrack and written a book on recording the guitar! On this latest CD Phil plays all guitars plus keys, bass and drum programming on entirely self composed material. The CD booklet contains full lyrics to all the songs. There are just a few musicians providing additional percussion, keys or backing vocals on a few tracks.

Although the CD is credited to “The Phil Gates Band” all recording, mixing and production is by Phil, so this is a really personal effort. Unfortunately, that also presents a problem for the CD. There is a certain ‘flatness’ to the sound which may be a consequence of the drum programming. Certainly where there is some additional percussion and accordion, as on opening tune “Get Around To Me”, the results are better.

The second track “Sexy Little Cool” features an attractive guitar figure, played on slide; “Evening Train” is a fast shuffle with some nice country feel guitar. “My Babe” and “I Never Knew” are classic shuffles, with good guitar. The title song is hampered by pedestrian drumming and Phil’s voice seems more strained here than on other tracks.

I enjoyed the sole instrumental “Road Shufflin’” more than many of the vocal tracks. Putting the strong guitar playing right upfront in the mix pays off here. The final song “The Wisdom” is different in style, with choral backing vocals against a shuffle drum figure and a guitar solo that reminded me of Dicky Betts (Allman Brothers).

Phil’s voice is adequate for the material and he is obviously a talented guitar player, but in my view he would have done better to bring in other players. I would have liked to be more positive as there is clearly a huge amount of endeavour and commitment here, but overall I did not find it easy to sustain interest through the whole CD.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK.

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