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A SoCal brand of blues

Alphabet Blues
Alphabet Blues
By Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers

Black Top Records: 1992

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This review first appeared in the July 24, 1992 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

Southern California's Mighty Flyers are back for a second outing on Black Top, and a fine bit of blues and R&B it is. A tight fivesome, Rod Piazza's combo has a soulful sound and ability to hit and carry a groove that makes them one of the best Southland blues acts around.

Leader Piazza is both an expressive harp player and a strong vocalist. Piazza has a lot of James Cotton in his playing; thus, he has a lot of Little Walter too. He has a full sound on harmonica, and his syncopatic playing almost makes his harp part of the band's rhythm section.

As a singer, Piazza has a rich tenor and a sense of timing as right on as when he's blowing his harp. All in all, he's a strong front man.

The quintet is rounded out by Miss Honey on piano, who's from the Kansas City school of blues; Alex Schultz on guitar; Bill Stuve on bass; and Jimi Bott on drums. Schultz is imaginative without being unduly flashy, and Stuve and Bott anchor a tight rhythm outfit.

Piazza handled most of the songwriting for "Alphabet Blues," with a couple of Miss Honey originals and two covers thrown in. One of the covers is of the traditional standard "Can't Get That Stuff No More," and the other is an inspired version of "Hydramatic Woman" by '50s Sun label one-man-band Joe Hill Louis (and somebody in the band must be a hardcore blues fan to have found this forgotten gem).

The originals are a variety of melodic R&B and mainstream blues. While probably not destined to become classics, there isn't a dog in the bunch either.