Mighty Long Road
BY SONNY BOY LEE
Straight out of New Orleans comes well-traveled Cajun bluesman Burton Gaar with Mighty Long Road, his latest collection of all original songs. Born in Baton Rouge, Gaar defines himself as "Louisiana proud," and in a previous incarnation as Burton Gaar & the Mudcats, championed his home state with the release of a Cajun, blues and zydeco true-to-his-roots CD entitled Still Singing the Blues.
At age 16, Gaar played bass for a short stint with Slim Harpo, who became a major influence, and in the 60s, Gaar gigged with the hot R&B band, the Boogie Kings. He also worked with Percy Sledge and Rockin Sidneys band. Mighty Long Road is dedicated to the memory of Sidney Simien, who Gaar holds up as his hero.
Even though the CD cover pictures Gaar holding a Danelectro guitar, the liner notes only credit him with "vocals, all tracks." So, its not clear whether hes playing guitar on it or not. Three other really fine guitar players who collaborated on the project are listed, however, so I guess its not that important.
Gaar jumps right into the groove with the lead-off track, "Bad Motor Scooter." The song gets into the slot and smokes. A really fine harp solo by Nashville session player, Texas native Tim Gonzalez, puts on the finishing touch midway into the song. One of my favorite cuts is "Somebody Broke My Lock" because it is a great example of steamy New Orleans funk blues. Gaar also calls this one of his "pet songs."
Another great song on the CD is "Willingly," a soul ballad that takes you back to the good old days of Louisiana R&B in the 60s. You can almost feel the steam coming off the dance floor.
The entire CD was recorded at Randy Colemans studio in Nashville. Coleman, incidentally, played bass on all the tracks, sang backup, and engineered and mixed the entire album an accomplishment that deserves and needs to be mentioned here.
Dubbed "One of Louisianas hidden treasures" by Blues Gazette, Gaar has also received praise from no less than Chubby Carrier, Carl Weathersby and Charlie Musselwhite. Mighty Long Road is pure pleasure. Gaars vocal work is outstanding, as is his songwriting, and the band cooks. Nothing more needs to be said. Surf to Red Hot Records to buy it.
A review of Gaars 1997 release, One Hundred Pounds of Trouble, which was recorded in Holland and landed in the top five on international charts, along with a fine sample cut and information on purchasing the CD, can be found at an avid fan's Geocities web site.
Mighty Long Road photo Copyright ©
2000-2004 Louisiana Red Hot Records.
CD review Copyright © 2000-2004 Sonny Boy Lee.
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