In my reviews of the last two Danny Bryant CDs, I stated that a
live CD would be most welcome. That CD is now available and
completely lives up to its promise. As excellent as all his
previous releases are, he is meant to be heard in a live setting
where he gets to perform extended versions of his songs and spread
out his soloing. In my reviews of his previous CDs I perhaps used
up all my superlatives to describe his guitar playing and vocals. I
will not repeat them all here except to say that the live setting
serves to put them all front and center for the listener to
The set list includes three songs not on his previous CDs. The
first of these is Slow Blues/Sweet Little Angel which is over 9
minutes of searing guitar playing. Bryant plays rapid fire notes in
a slow blues setting while still maintaining the melody of the
song. In this respect, he is reminiscent of both Walter Trout and
Alvin Lee. The second new song is Hideaway/Bring Your Fine Self
Home which is short on vocals but replete with jaw-dropping solos.
The third new song is Good Time Woman, a Bryant original that leans
to the rock side of the blues/rock spectrum.
The CD opener is Heartbreaker, from the first CD, which hits like
an express train and includes a fine wah-wah solo. A fine choice
for an opening song in that it sets the stage for Bryant’s
excellent playing and vocals. Girl from the North Country is a Bob
Dylan song that has also been covered by Walter Trout and
Bryant’s version here does both Dylan and Trout proud. Play
to Win, Born to Lose is an up-tempo, danceable, beer drinking
inducing song with another fine wah-wah solo mid way through. Last
Man Standing slows the pace of the concert but not the intensity.
This Is the Blues, a song about possible misperceptions over what
it takes to play the blues, merely proves that Bryant certainly has
what it takes to place himself firmly among the best bluesmen.
Always with Me, dedicated to Bryant’s wife, is, for me, the
highlight of the CD. At over nine minutes, it is about three
minutes longer than the studio version. A ballad, it includes
perhaps the best vocals on the CD, full of emotion. It is also a
perfect example of the intensity, fluidity, and superb tone of
Bryant’s guitar playing.
Bryant is ably supported by his father, Ken Bryant, on bass and
Dave Raeburn on drums. Their empathetic yet solid backing on this
wonderful CD cannot be ignored. I must also say that, as a lover of
the wah-wah pedal effect, I was thankful that Bryant uses wah-wah
on the majority of the songs.
This CD is certainly an early contender for the best of 2007 and
we are only in the first month of the year. Other artists will be
hard pressed to do better. On this, their fifth CD, the band is on
a new label, Rounder Europe. Hopefully, this will result in better
distribution of the CD. I can’t think of a band more
deserving of wider recognition. Highly recommended and well worth