The Bob Lanza Blues Band 'Til the Pain is Gone There is only one way to play the blues: From the heart with ferocity as if your life depends on it. Singer, songwriter and guitarist Bob Lanza from the wilds of north New Jersey leaves no doubt as to motivation with a scorching second release following his debut Things Ain't So Bad (2009). Years with Floyd Phillips and the Mudflaps and backing legends like James Cotton prepared his audition as a new blues guitar hero. 12 original and cover tunes range from tough to tender backed by the Reverend Sandy Joren (bass), Noel Sagerman (drums), David Snakeman Runyan (harmonica) and a number of guest artists, including son Jake Lanza (guitar). With the rhythm section kicking hard, Mike Bloomfield's Maudie roars with Jake burning the frets off his axe and Joe Cerisano enthusing his undying affection for the lady. The Bobby Bland classic ballad I'll Take Care of You is raw and sensitive at the same time, Lanza making the lyrics his own over the empathetic organ of Ed Doc Wall and the serpentine harp of Runyan, his guitar wordlessly expressing his feelings. The thumping title track boogies as Lanza makes his case for singing the blues with tough poetry like I was born into pain, yes, people think I'm insane, but if y'all live my life, you probably jump in front of a train, Runyan testing his reeds and the guitar man squeezing thick, distorted cries from his instrument before twisting it into horseshoe in the outro solo. The original instrumental Snake Byte follows with a juke shuffle and a showcase for Runyan over the hot, swinging rhythm. A heartrending version of the classic Outskirts of Town finds Lanza exposing his soul vocally and instrumentally, blues phrasing and timbre flowing naturally from him as he trades challenging solos with Lee Delray, each heavyweight pushing the other to greater emotional heights. Willie Dixon's I'm Ready is given an authentic Southside of Chicago reading, Lanza singing and playing with suave confidence and Runyan blowing sweet and tart. A side trip to the Westside of Chi-town produces the Magic Sam minor key classic Every Night & Every Day as Wall rakes his organ and Lanza growls passionately while punishing his strings. The Texas shuffle of Build Me a Woman by Pat Ramsey mines a backslapping beat for Lanza to describe his perfect female and fry the frets of his guitar with climactic solos and penetrating fills. The Chicago blues standard Sugar Sweet spotlights Wall finessing the ivories with consummate skill and propelling the brisk shuffle like a vintage Cadillac V-8. The melancholy ballad Lonesome, recorded by Memphis Slim among others, is a wistful country blues with the low volume, nuanced guitar of Lanza blending seamlessly with the understated piano of Wall reminiscent of Slim and Matt Murphy, while featuring his world weary vocal. The original strutting hypnotic boogie shuffle Our Life is an acoustic guitar/harp duet lamenting familiar ruts with I sit alone and I wonder, what's ahead for me, do I have to keep coming home all alone and hang with my best friend, Mr. TV. I wake up in the morning, dog's starin' in my face, when will the powers that be who rule us, disappear into outer space? A house rocking version of Got My Mojo Working leaves the listener craving more of the mile deep grooves, soul stirring vocals and exceptional improvisation. Bob Lanza presents a convincing story and expresses universal emotions every time he opens his mouth and puts pick to string. It is an unforgettable experience not to be missed that only increases in intensity over time.
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