I have to admit that I had never heard of
Paul Reddick before I received this CD, Reddick Revue (NorthernBlues). I guess that I should have done as he has
quite a background in the blues. Canadian-born Paul recorded four albums with
a band called The Sidemen (formed in 1990 in Toronto), and they received
nominations for several blues awards, including a W.C. Handy award.In
2001 they brought out a CD, Rattlebag,
produced by Colin Linden – it got great reviews, including nominations
for both W.C.Handy & Juno awards. Reddick is a very original song writer, a good
singer, and a good harmonica player – the rest follows easily!
This CD is a combination of tracks from
his career – some from The Sidemen, some from his second band,
Villanelle, and some newer material. Track one on the album, “I’m A Criminal,” may
sound familiar as it’s been used in an advert for Coca Cola – it’s a
good slow rocking blues number, with a fantastic bass line and some
laid-back harmonica. For me, Reddick couldn’t have picked a
better opening track – once you’ve listened to this you can’t stop! This
is just superb modern rocking blues.
The following track “2nd
Street,” showcases some nice slide guitar work from Kyle Ferguson behind Reddick’s haunting harmonica, and it’s almost on a par with the first
track – they are both just an excellent introduction to this man’s
music. These first two tracks are, to my mind
they are some of the strongest tracks on the album.
There isn’t really a bad track at all, but
some are stronger than others – or maybe the ones that I class as
stronger just appeal more to my taste in blues. There are 18 tracks altogether on this CD,
the majority of them originals, but with a few covers – tracks by Johnny
Cash, Son House, Little Walter. "Rattlebag," "Trouble Again," "Smokehouse,"
"Train Of Love," "Waitin’" – all very good tracks and seemingly very
representative of this man’s music.
If, like me you, you hadn’t heard of Paul
Reddick before now, then get this CD and listen long and hard – you
won’t get tired of it!
--- Terry Clear
Canadian Paul Reddick has been turning heads since the early ’90s, when
his band, The Sidemen, released four CDs (one produced by Joe Louis
Walker) and toured across North America with legends like Koko Taylor,
Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, and John Mayall. Their 2001 album, Rattlebag,
was nominated for a Handy Award and won several Maple Blues Awards (the
Canadian version of the Handy's). In 2004, he teamed up with fellow
Canadian musician Colin Linden to produce the highly praised Villanelle.
Reddick has now released a retrospective on the NorthernBlues Music
label. Reddick Revue collects the best of Reddick’s four Sidemen albums,
Villanelle, and a side project with Paul Neufeld’s Rhythm & Truth Brass
Band. The compilation captures a gifted composer and performer that
might be a new face, and voice, to many blues fans.
The songs from Rattlebag include the edgy “I’m A Criminal,” which is
probably best known to U.S. fans from the Coca Cola commercial seen on
TV in 2006. Other highlights from that disc include “Smokehouse,” which
features some impressive harp from Reddick, the lively “Trouble Again,”
and the hard driving title tune. The other Sidemen tunes, from their
’90s releases are also strong (including two previously unreleased
tracks…a cover of Little Walter’s “It Ain’t Right” and “The Sidemen
Boogie”), but the band clearly hit its stride with Rattlebag.
The selections from Villanelle, an acoustic outing, was produced by
Linden and managed to capture a moody atmospheric feel similar to the
productions of fellow Canadian Daniel Lanois. “Villanelle” is a
particularly beautiful track with Reddick’s plaintive vocal supported by
Kathleen Edwards’ violin and Linden’s acoustic guitar. “Big Not Small”
features a marching drum beat and Reddick’s harp. “Round This Time of
Year” is an achingly lovely ballad. There’s also a superb reworking of
Johnny Cash’s “Train of Love.”
Reddick’s work with jazz pianist Neufeld’s Rhythm and Truth Brass Band
is every bit as intriguing as his work with his working band. The
energetic “Queen’s Hotel” and “Rosemary” (with a marvelously jazzy vocal
take by Reddick) are worthy inclusions to this set.
Revue is a wonderful introduction to Paul Reddick’s gifts. He first fell
in love with the blues as a teenager listening to records by Muddy
Waters, Little Walter, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Howlin’ Wolf
before delving deeper with recordings from the pre-war era on the Yazoo
label. It’s safe to say that he learned his lessons well and is on his
way to becoming one of the bright new voices of the blues.
--- Graham Clarke