BLUES BYTES (Crossroad Ritual)

This is the first time that I’ve heard of a blues band from Greece, and I wasn’t sure what to expect – it’s a lot more than “Can a white man sing the blues”!I have to say, right at the beginning, that I’m impressed by these guys – they know what the blues is all about.The album gets off to a slow start with “The Blues That’s Callin’” – a stripped down blues with harmonica, vocal, and not much else – it really generates an atmosphere and then makes way for “Cold In Hand And Lonesome” , a moody, slow, blues with some really lovely harmonica riffs.The tempo starts to pick up with “If You Flag My Train” – this is a superb track, with all sorts of old blues influences showing through – Bukka White, Son House, Muddy Waters, all contributing to the music, and again some more great harmonica from Paul Karapiperis.The title track to the album, “Crossroads Ritual” showcases some slide guitar work that really gels. Vocalist & harmonica player Karapiperis shows that he can also handle a bit of slide guitar work and the resonator guitar that he uses has a rich tone to it.My only real criticism of this fine CD – the lack of sleeve notes. The music is good, the production is good – but please, tell us more about the band, the music, the recording!!I’m assuming that all of these tracks are originals, written by the band, which makes their talent even more impressive.On track 8 “I Scream, I Play, I Feel”, Panagiotis Daras displays some fine slide guitar work, and it’s hard to choose which of the two guitarists produces the best sound on slide on this album.On the “Rusty Train” Paul Karapiperis takes his voals onyo a different level, and he sounds a lot like an early Joe Cocker – not a bad thing!I have to mention the bass playing of Lefteris Besios here, because he really shines through on this track.This reinforces the impression that this band can change the tone, and style, of their music without a problem – rather than just sounding the same the whole way though the album, they let all of their different influences peep through from the background.Two of the tracks have a guest appearance from sax player Angelos Psarras, “UP & Down” and “VAT69”, which again changes the style of music – and leaving his mention till last – by no means the most insignificant member of the band – Drummer George Poulos lays down some excellent rhythm section foundation of “Your Mother Told You That I Play The Devil’s Music” and “Remembering Peter” – this letter track being my favourite on the CD and I assume that the Peter referred to is Peter Green as the track immediately brought him to mind with the beautiful guitar work from Daras.

Terry Clear