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Classic heavy blues

Lucky Dog
Lucky Dog
By D.A. & the Hitmen

Double Barrel Records: 2008

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This review first appeared in the October 11, 2007 issue of the North County Times.

Veteran San Diego hard rock and blues band D.A. & the Hitmen play old-school rock 'n' roll – "old school" referring to the kind of '70s blues-rock hybrids played by artists like Savoy Brown, Elvin Bishop and other guitar-based outfits who never lost sight of the blues roots of rock.

On their second album, Lance Dieckmann and Paul Alvarado (the D and the A of the band's name, respectively) show both devotion to and mastery of the boogie shuffle. There's plenty of Alvarado's incisive guitar playing, while Dieckmann is just as likely to tackle the main melody on harmonica as he is to belt it out in his strong voice.

The dozen songs were all written by Dieckmann and Alvarado – "Stop the Rain" is a melodic, memorable song that could have come out of a mid-'70s AOR station playlist, with Alvarado playing a nice wah-wah pedal. And on the eight-minute "Mrs. Sunshine," the band dives fully into the blues with Alvarado playing some outstanding solos in the Chicago school. Not all of the songs are up to that standard, but all are decent, and the band plays with enthusiasm and solid chops throughout.