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Power of the blues

Spontaneous Combustion
Spontaneous Combustion
By Son Seals

Alligator Records: 1996

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This review first appeared in the January 10, 1997 issue of the North County Times.

It's been more than 20 years since Son Seals burst onto the scene with his angry, muscular blues. The ax man with the monstrous chops quickly became a cult icon to any aspiring guitarist in the blues world. As a singer, he is as lacking in polish as he is gifted in pure lung power.

If he's mellowed with the passage of time, it sure doesn't show on his new live CD. It's powerful, energetic blues, with even more of a force to it than the loudest arena rock or heavy metal band. His guitar solos are just as daring as in years past; his voclas every bit as impassioned.

And check out the horn section this go-round. Unlike, say, a B.B. King, Seals doesn't limit his horn section to punctuating his solos with short riffs, but gives them solo space and also uses them to file between his vocals with sage asides of their own. (And therei's a great flute solo by Red Groetzinger, too!)

There's nothing quite like Son Seals. If you've a love for the blues and have not yet treated yourself to a Seals record, you're denying yourself one of life's great pleasures.