Mike Eldred is an L.A. guitarslinger with a strong taste for Americana. His power trio includes Blasters’ backline men John Bazz (bass) and Jerry Angel (drums), and together they serve up a tasty helping of blues, R&B, country, and good ol’ rock and roll.
61/49 refers to the Mississippi crossroads where Robert Johnson may have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for otherworldly blues powers. And fittingly, Eldred kicks off the album with an a cappella admonition, “Don’t Go Down There.” Then, hardly taking a breath, he roars into “Jake’s Boogie,” proving the words of warning all came too late.
Throughout these 13 original tracks, Eldred and gang prove it again and again; on “Miss Gayles’ Chicken House” they’re joined by Scotty Moore on second guitar. Ike Turner adds piano on two other tracks, Riley Osborn plays B3 organ on another, and former Fabulous Thunderbird Kid Ramos tosses in stylish guitar licks on “Louise.” What a lineup!
Still, it’s Eldred who stuns. His guitarwork is incisive, inventive, and thoroughly rocking, running from Sun-style rockabilly to SRV blues. He makes that Telecaster sweat.
The final/title track is pure deep- Delta blues, with Eldred playing solo acoustic bottleneck slide on an old-timey train tune. Mr. Johnson himself may be rolling over with envy.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Mar. ’11 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.