Big George Brock, a native of Grenada, Mississippi, has been making music for six decades, and this DSD high resolution download is aptly titled Heavyweight Blues. Big George’s voice and harmonica are backed by the Riley Coatie Band consisting of Riley Sr. on guitar, Tekora on bass, Latasha on keyboards, and Riley Jr. on drums. It does not take very long to figure out that this album is quite simply straightforward, relentless, and pulsating blues, with nothing held back.
As the playlist suggests, we get some authentic blues numbers with titles that leave nothing to the imagination:
- Walking Thru The Park (2:55)
- I’ll Be Around (3:49)
- Tiger In Your Tank (3:51)
- Still A Fool(Two Trains Running) (5:08)
- Trouble No More (4:07)
- Young Fashioned Ways (4:29)
- Just Want To Make Love To You (4:11)
- Howlin’ For My Darling (3:55)
- Tin Pan Alley (3:26)
- Evil (4:30)
- Who’s Been Talkin’ (3:55)
- Can’t Hold Out Much Longer (3:41)
- You Don’t Have To Go (3:33) (Jimmy D. Lane, guitar)
- You Shook Me (3:14) (bonus track)
This studio session allows both long-time fans and newcomers alike to hear one of the blues’ hidden legends in fine form and well recorded to boot.
Recorded at Chad Kassem’s Blue Heaven Studios in the analog domain and directly, flatly transferred to DSD from the original analog masters, we get the usual excellent sonic presentation with Big George up front and the other musicians placed slightly behind. Everything is clear with a natural quality to Big George’s voice and harmonica. I would suggest starting with “I Just Want To Make Love To You” to discover what makes this artist the great one that he is. All in all, a well-balanced recording that has the warmth of analog and the noise-free background of digital.
We get some great liner notes from Scott M. Bock, a playlist and recording credits. Big George and his harmonica grace the album cover.
The Definitive Word
We must be continually grateful to APO Records for giving us such fine blues artists recorded so impeccably. Had Chad Kassem not taken on the Blue Heavens Studio project in Salinas, Kansas and then tracked down some of the neglected blues stars of the past such an album would not have been recorded. Big George Brock was a pleasant discovery for this reviewer as I am certain that most listeners will also be coming to him for the first time. Like many artists of his era, he did not get his shot at making all of the records that he truly deserved to make. This 2007 album more than makes amends for decades of studio neglect. Blues lovers can rejoice and take pleasure from this generous playlist set down in pristine sound.