You gotta love this kind of record. Ross has been around awhile, and probably isn’t real well-known to most folks. And it’s a blues album (for the most part anyway) from a guy who one wouldn’t associate with the blues. Ross might best be known for his work with Rank and File, and other projects. Here, he dishes up the blues in all kinds of flavors and sounds.
“Muddy Waters,” as you might expect, is a Chicago blues with some nice snaky fills and killer harp and vocals from Ross’ Austin pal Guy Forsyth. “Pay Attention Blues” is an uptown blues with a killer sound. “Left Eye Jump” is an instrumental that features a tone to die for, a killer solo, and more than a tip of the cap to T-Bone Walker. Same for “Blue Mood.” “Flim Flam” is a nice, lazy shuffle with various cool solos including a rowdy, gorgeously distorted one. And Earl Hooker’s “Wah-Wah Blues” gets the deluxe treatment. The nice thing about all the blues on this album is the variation. Ross is no one-trick pony. He’s equally adept at a West Coast-style jump blues as he is on a dirty Chicago blues. The blues cover most of the meal here, but there are some other items on the plate. Check out “Blues Chair.” Ross does the Django tune justice. The clubby jazz of “Jr. Blues” gives Jeff a chance to show both his nasty and clean sides.
Ross has a lot of help here too. He sings a couple of cuts and does a fine job. He has help from folks like Forsyth, Mark Goodwin, and Major Lee Burkes on vocals. And each cut has a cracker-jack rhythm section that helps propel Ross’ very-fine guitar playing. Call it a blues album if you want, but it’s a lot more than that.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s April ’03 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.