I can tell you the exact moment you realize the former Certain General’s Phil Gammage album Adventures In Bluesland isn’t very good, it is very great. It’s when the winding summer breeze of a m original like “Lay Me Down Low” with Don Fiorino on lap steel guitar letting you into a sweet blues soulfulness, it is like waking from a daydream into the daydream itself.
This is the fourth song on Adventures In Bluesland and it is followed by a Lead Belly track, before it Phil had channeled Presley with a vocal half homage and half channelling and this pace, this consistent joy in sound is relentless and laid back. It is like something from 461 Ocean Blvd, and with its intense laidbackness the Clapton is what it reminds me off. It isn’t that “See How we Roll” is laid back, it is that it gains its strength not from muscle but intensity.
At the time I wrote (here): “Phil Gammage’s sweeping modern blues and rock album, which owes so much to everyone one from Presley to Lead Belly but sound not quite like any of them. Gammage began his career with post-new wave mood rockers A Certain General before taking that misplaced Sun recordings voice and forging a solo career which seems to define while not being defined by Americana.”
I haven’t listened to it in months and so for this review the album was fresh again and it sounds better than I remember it, Gammages voice? A gorgeous Isaak blues and rockabilly thing, the tempo putting the laid into laid back, and the playing a concise evocation of punk discipline (not sound) and Chicago blues (not Southern) momentum.