Little Chris and the Night Crawlers - Bone Blue
Sometimes within the sea of all the CDs from young Hendrix and SRV laced guitar slingers and old timers trying to gasp one last creative breath, a truly different and totally enjoyable CD will surface. Such is the case with "Bone Blue", the latest release from the California based Little Chris and the Night Crawlers. This is such an enjoyable recording, and one I have described recently to someone as "a good time in a jewel case". "Little" Chris Fast and company are a sort of real life Blues Brothers band who deliver 50s blues covers and older sounding original material in a sort of 60s R&B band style. The end result is a very fresh interpretation of a truly classic sound.

The band is fronted by the sterling harmonica and vocals of "Little"
Chris Fast, who also serves as writer of the band's original material. Fast is admirable supported by a world class cast of characters, including Hank Barrio (vocals and stinging guitar), Alfredo Ballesteros (vocals and tenor sax), Bud Dehl (vocals and tenor sax), Dennis Kensmore (drums), Tom Bray on trumpet, and a most impressive Fred Rivera on bass guitar. This is a very veteran band with an impressive collective resume' which includes supporting such names as Delaney Bramlett, Jerry Lee Lewis, Neil Young, Leon Russell, Roy Orbison, Linda Rondstadt, Big Joe Turner, Pee Wee Crayton, Big Mama Thornton, Percy Mayfield, and both Albert and Carol King (not related). Though their experiences cover a wide musical range, their work together on "Bone Blue" is very consistently 50s flavored blues and R&B.

There are 4 original and 8 cover tunes on this delightful set. My personal favorites are a tremendous up tempo medley "Too Late Brother/Hate To See You Go", an excellent Chris Fast original track "World Lost It's Mind", and a great cover of Delaney Bramlett's "Moanin' Blues". However, the best track without question to me is a scorching cover of Willie Dixon's "29 Ways" which pretty much tells the tale of this band: great vocals, evil harp, stinging guitar, lots of horns, rock solid percussion, and some excellent and very tasteful bass guitar. If you like 50s flavored jump/swing blues and R&B, it just does not get much better than this.

This very entertaining recording reminds me yet again of why it is that I have had such a love affair with independent artists for so long. "Bone Blue" is available via the band's official internet home at www.littlechris.com.

Tom Branson



The Band:

Chris Fast - Harmonica & Vocals, Fred Rivera - Bass, Hank Barrio - Guitar & Vocals, Alfredo Ballesteros - Tenor Sax & Vocals, Dennis Kensmore - Drums, Bud Dehl - Tenor Sax & Vocals, Tom Bray - Trumpet

The Tunes:

1. Too Poor, 2. 29 Ways, 3. Flipped Her Wig, 4. Tryin' To Have Fun, 5. You May, 6. Too Late Brother/Hate To See You Go, 7. Just Another Bump, 8. Love In Vain, 9. Bad Bad Whiskey, 10. World Lost Its Mind, 11. Too Young To Die, 12. Moanin' Blues

2003 Self Released
Link: Little Chris and the Night Crawlers
© Bluesrockers 2002