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The Twist-O-Lettz (Rick Holmstrom John “Juke” Logan and Stephen Hodges)

Mocombo Records

14 tracks

Rick Holmstrom has a look of swagger and some major league mojo going. He’s trying to give us a raw and energized CD with a truly live sound. It is a live studio CD and It seems like they tried to replicate the live and limited sound from a small club; sometimes it comes across as clipped, distorted and limited in range in a few spots but it is interesting (to say the least). At times I think they tried too hard and missed the mark with the sound but if you like your blues really dirty and grungy then this is for you. I stress the dirty and grungy. Really dirty and really grungy.

The CD begins with a cover of Chris Kenner’s “The Land of 1000 Dances”. The big percussion and guitar with distorted vocals is raw and very interesting. It’s not exactly my cup of tea per se, but it’s an interesting and very different approach from the original song recording. Very wild and untamed stuff! This raw percussive beat, fuzzy guitar and angry, distorted vocals continue to a lesser degree with the next two cuts penned by Rick Holmstrom. It’s very edgy stuff. What really intrigues me the most is the harp and bass harp work. “Let’s Rock and Roll”, “Waiting’ Too Long”, “Jukestaposition” and most of the rest of the cuts that feature the harp give us some great licks by John “Juke” Logan. I think his efforts are by far the highlight of the album for me and I enjoyed his work immensely. Steve Hodges gives us some interesting things on drums, tom-toms, jungle-drums and all sort of other percussive stuff and Holmsstrom is just a wild man on guitar and lead vocals.

Holmstrom and Company are trying to be minimalistic, angry and down-home-a la-West Coast. It is not traditional blues by any stretch of the imagination. Very raw, at times very angry, and always loud and making a statement. I’d love to hear these guys live; the stuff I saw of them on You Tube was also interesting. The CD is not for the faint of heart- it will evoke strong emotions for sure. If you are a fan of blues and loud, garage punk music, you’ll like this one a lot. They go out on a limb and it’s a looooong one! Very interesting stuff, to say the least; it is probably the most different album I’ve reviewed in awhile.

Reviewer Steve Jones is secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

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