Blues Bytes


September 2010

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Rick Holmstrom, John "Juke" Logan & Stephen Hodges
Mocombo Records


Twist-O-Lettz (Mocombo Records) is a collaboration between Rick Holmstrom, John “Juke” Logan, and Stephen Hodges that can best be described as “neo-roots/blues.” Holmstrom is the master guitarist and singer who previously played with William Clarke, Billy Boy Arnold, Johnny Dyer, and Rod Piazza’s Mighty Flyers. Logan has played harmonica for Ry Cooder, Leon Russell, Albert Collins, and countless others, and his harp has graced the soundtracks of many movies (Crossroads, La Bamba, Midnight Run) and TV shows (Rosanne and Home Improvement). Percussionist Hodges has played with artists like Tom Waits, Charlie Musselwhite, James Harman, and John Hammond.

This disc captures the rhythm and feel of those gritty ’50s and ’60s sides for labels like Chess and Excello. There’s plenty of reverb and echo throughout. The only instruments are Holmstrom’s grungy and sometimes spacey guitar, Logan’s harmonica (and eerie bass harp), and Hodges’ percussion work on apparently anything that would make a sound. Ten of the songs are originals by Logan or Holmstrom with the covers coming from Chris Kenner (a swampy version of “The Land of a Thousand Dances”), Shy Guy Douglas (a rowdy “Let’s Rock & Roll”), Jerry McCain (“Turn Yer Damper Down”), and Elmore James (“Wild About You”).

The original compositions include Holmstrom’s humorous “If I Should Die,” “Be Home Soon,” the deliciously funky “I’d LikeTo See,” and the pure rocker, “Look Me In The Eye.” His guitar work is versatile and always right on the money. Logan’s contributions are equally potent, especially “Lone Wolf,” “We Got Ta’ Rock,” and the menacing closer, “Ways of Action,” and his harmonica work is outstanding. All of it would be woefully lacking without Hodges’ percussion, which keeps your head bobbing and toe tapping throughout.

Twist-O-Lettz is a fascinating disc……part throwback to the days of Excello and Chess swamp and grit, part blues of the future, altogether an engaging and worthwhile listen. Blues fans should not let this one pass them by.

--- Graham Clarke


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