The fact that they “put greasy stuff in their hair for the people” and they thank “Fender, Gibson, tubes, tweed, and all things vintage and holy” was enough to make me want to listen to this CD. I had heard the group at Sassy Ann’s in Knoxville, Tennessee and decided I had to go hear them in their hometown of Atlanta. I have yet to actually go to Atlanta to hear anyone, since I can never find a parking place there. But if you go there, the Breeze Kings can usually be found at the Northside Tavern or the Blue Sky Tavern, knocking out some of the best Blues in town.
Carlos “Breeze” Capote is the vocalist and harp player extraordinaire. Jim Ransone has his stuff together on lead guitar. Joe Caprara on drums and Dave Roth on bass make the rhythms shake. There is a vibrant tone to their proceedings, as Breeze knocks out the harp licks on their vintage equipment and the band rocks out the Blues. One senses their respect for the purer aspects of the Blues, with most of their material coming from artists like Jr. Parker, Roosevelt Sykes, Magic Sam, R.L. Burnside, Billy Boy Arnold and others.
Although this album is made up solely of covers, it is really about the band’s influences. It was recorded “in one room, a couple of mics, a bunch of tubes, vintage gear, a few hours, lots of gin, sweat, and soul, all straight to hyper-glorious two-track mono.” This combination goes all the way to produce a CD that is rockin’ Blues at its best. The material that the band picked is a great combination of Texas, Chicago, Delta and West Coast music that every Blues Cat should be familiar with.
The lead tune, “Feelin’ Good,” is a Junior Parker takeoff that is done with real attention to style, with Breeze’s exciting harp and great vocals offering up an energetic feeling. The rolling guitar of Jim Ransone chops along like a train cuttin’ down the track. Great opening song for the CD! “Blind Love” is an early B.B. King work that doesn’t get heard much. This one has some nice harp and vocals. “Thirteen Women” is a spooky, guitar-driven tune with lots of reverb.
Roosevelt Sykes’ “Drivin’ Wheel” is closer to Sykes’ version than the ever-popular Jr. Parker cut. Slashing guitar and tormented vocals do the job on this one. “You’re So Sweet” is a Jimmy Rogers cover that features some real pretty harp. This cut is probably the standout on the CD for Breeze’s harp work, as well as a slashing guitar solo.
My favorite tunes here are Billy Boy Arnold’s “I Wish You Would” and Magic Sam’s “All Your Love.” The harp work on the Arnold tune is terrific, with the energy the same as the unrelenting energy of the band’s personal appearances. “All Your Love” is nice and slow, with the right kind of harp vibes and hard-edged vocals of the original. Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “One More Kiss” closes the set, but there’s a surprise! Somebody gets a late-night date and the band spooks the crowd with a little ROCK!
The Breeze Kings won the Atlanta’s Creative Loafing Award for “Best Blues Band” for the last three years. We appreciate them playing in Knoxville, and we’ll be looking forward to the new album.