It may be inevitable that a blues band originating from the Cork area of Ireland will be compared to Rory Gallagher. Add to that a blues band with beards, and thoughts immediately go towards ZZ Top. Throw away any preconceived ideas then dear listener as “Rumble Shake”, the second full length release by Crow Black Chicken, maintains the organic, languid texture of the first album, and adds an extra serving of melodic blues, to give it a depth and originality that can so often be lacking in this field. “Hang ‘Em High”, which opens the album, would have the most cynical blues-hater singing along to the chorus and strapping on a weather-beaten air guitar. As an album opener “Hang ‘Em High” has everything the listener could possibly need; the tempo, the hook, the searing guitar. Little respite before “Two-Seven” and by now the overwhelming feeling is that, listening to this album, you are having a good time. The music is uplifting and engaging and takes the listener to a place where they are free to engage in basic hedonistic behaviour. What more could one want from the music? “Bitter” and “Little Paths” slow the tempo right down without losing any of the personality. The soloing on these pieces has an originality that is inspirational and exhilarating to hear.
The title track “Rumble Shake” is a gloriously uplifting romp through a number of styles and influences that suggest that Crow Black Chicken could be something very special to see in a live setting. “Black Asphalt” and “Black Man’s Gold” contain a gritty sensuousness that is both charming and dangerous in equal measure. “Rumble Shake” has a number of levels on which it parades its allures however. “Priest Hunter” has a gentler, but no less poignant atmosphere whilst “Jessie Mae” is a straightforward, languorous blues. Almost coming full circle “Sit With Satan” revisits the mood captured on “Hang ‘Em High” and closes the album with a crescendo of blues guitar passion.
“Rumble Shake “ is undoubtedly a blues based album that will appeal not only to aficionados of that genre, but anyone prepared to listen to candid imaginative music in general. The production on the album is just the right side of grubby. It would not be out of place to add the label “progressive” to this description of Crow Black Chicken’s music, as they are certainly pushing the envelope of blues based music which will hopefully open up whole new audience possibilities for them.