Daddy Mack Blues Band
Ever since rock and roll has been a genre of music, covers of traditional blues songs have been a staple. Slow Ride reverses the trend, with singer/guitarist Daddy Mack Orr and his band covering classic rock songs from artists as diverse as Led Zeppelin and The Monkees. The idea came about after Orr’s band covered “Get Back” for Fried Glass Onions — Memphis Meets the Beatles (also included on the album). The experiment is a mixed bag, with more positives than negatives, that makes for an overall interesting result.
The album kicks off with the title track, and it never seems to shift out of first gear. It finds an easy groove from the start, but never seems to progress out of it, and the result is neither a faithful traditional interpretation nor one that expands upon the song in any meaningful way. Likewise, “Whole Lotta Love” feels just like a slowed-down version of the Zep classic, without the benefit of Page’s masterful guitar excursions.
Things change with the two Clapton covers. “After Midnight” effectively captures the feel of the slower tempo later version, rather than the original version, as it should be, while “Lay Down Sally” evokes a fun, opening-number blues bar vibe. By now we are starting to get a feel that this blues group has something special to offer. The fun continues with covers from Bad Company (“Can’t Get Enough”), the Rolling Stones (“Honky Tonk Women”) and Santana (“Black Magic Woman”). Joining the band on harmonica is special guest Billy Gibson. While his playing is noticeable on all of the tracks, he really tears it up on “You Really Got Me.”
For anyone interested in getting their feet wet with a current blues band, Slow Ride is a perfect opportunity. This Memphis band has been impressing traditional blues audiences for years, and this album is a perfect chance to see why. A former cotton picker/heavy equipment operator, and current auto mechanic/garage owner, the self-taught Orr has assembled a fine group of traditional blues musicians, with enough rock-n-roll sensibilities to make a lot of the old classic rock songs you’ve heard a million times on the radio sound new and fresh. I, for one, would love to see a follow-up effort.
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