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Ball, Sultan temper silliness, present great music

Filthy Rich
Filthy Rich
By Tom Ball & Kenny Sultan

Flying Fish Records: 1993

This review first appeared in the Fall 1993 edition of Blues Revue Quarterly magazine (now Blues Revue).

Harpist Tom Ball and guitarist Kenny Sultan's third outing together picks up where 1990's "Too Much Fun" left off. There's plenty of acoustic picking, stellar harp solos, and Jody Eulitz playing a cardboard box for percussion.

Best of all, there's less of the cutesy humor that marred "Too Much Fun," which at times seemed more concerned with silliness and double entendres than music.

With covers of Muddy Waters' "Honey Bee," Hank Williams' "Mind Your Own Business," and Hank Jr.'s "Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound," Ball and Sultan spend more time entertaining with their stupendous playing and less on humor. Two real treats for guitar fans are solo guitar versions by Sultan of "Buck Rag" and "Glory of Love/Swingin' On a Star" by Ball.

As well as Ball and Sultan can play, it's rewarding to hear them push each other a bit more musically on this outing. They cover acoustic American musical styles from blues to folk to country – albeit all have a decidedly blues flavor – with skill, taste and a sense of fun.