|11 March 2016
Hip Shootin': Red Hot
The Tomi Leino Trio return with a brand new
monaural CD, brimming with hot, traditional
electric blues, done in the inimitable Leino
But let me start where I finished my last Tomi
Leino review: Homework Records' releases
really do look as good as they sound.
Somehow, they manage to do retro and
|contemporary at the same time, making the blues fans aware at first glance what
they're in for – but without scaring off the uninitiated customer. Indeed, lesser
stylists might have plastered "this mono recording can also be played on
stereophonic audio equipment" in block letters all over the CD sleeve, but not
these guys: it's there in small print, right under the copyright notice, where only
those who can appreciate it will know to look.
Once you press play, the first thing that hits you is the overall sound: down to
that slight touch of overdrive on Leino's vocals, "Hip Shootin'" comes across
exactly like the Chicago and Memphis recordings from that mythical golden age of
blues and rock'n'roll. According to the sleevenotes, "all songs were recorded and
mixed live straight to Ampex tape recorder in a six hour session on September
15th 2015", so it's not just a live recording, it's also a live mix without any "post-
session" tweaking – perhaps radical in this day of virtually unlimited multitracks,
but also fast and practical, provided that everyone knows what they're doing.
With the Tomi Leino Trio, they obviously do.
The band still consists of Tomi Leino on vocals, guitar and harmonica, Jaska
Prepula on electric and upright bass, guitar and backing vocals, and Mikko Peltola
on drums. The playing is impeccable, with a passion and drive all too rare among
trad.blues bands in 2016. Most importantly, the musicians work together like a
well-oiled engine, playing off one another, reacting to and commenting upon
what the others are doing. The Tomi Leino Trio do not perform songs, they make
music, and nowhere do they sound like they're copying anyone – even the Little
Walter and J.B. Lenoir tunes turn into TLT numbers.
The line between Finnish blues and rockabilly has always been a bit blurry, and
Leino's natural vocal style can occasionally emphasize the rock'n'roll nature of
some of his compositions. Apart from the endlessly repeating choruses on
"Elaine", I don't really mind – but I know some who might. So let me repeat: "Hip
Shootin'" is a great blues album! Yet, if one track stands taller than the rest, it's
the quirky Leino-penned guitar instrumental "Hip Shooter".
All in all, another great set from a great band. Recommended!
Tomi Leino Trio: Hip Shootin'. Homework Records, 2016
Tomi Leino (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Jaska Prepula (bass, guitar, backing
vocals), Mikko Peltola (drums)
Link: Tomi Leino dot com
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