“Streets of Mumbai” Review: Michael McDowell, Blitz Magazine

Excerpt From Blitz Magazine

“The Shape of Things to Come”

Review by Michael McDowell

Link: http://blitzmag.blogspot.com/2007/01/shape-of-things-to-come-by-michael.html

It has been said that familiarity breeds contempt.

In recent years, there has been a considerable resurgence in interest in the blues amongst various musical aspirants. Many have committed their fascination with the genre to vinyl and CD, albeit with often predictable results.

More often than not, the project at hand is rife with ambition and technical proficiency. Yet such attributes are often swept aside by a general lack of vision that gives way to slavish imitation, with the results varying little from the conventional twelve-bar template that has long given the genre’s detractors fuel for their dissension.

Thankfully, Deborah “Long Tall Deb” Landolt (whose previous Vizztone release, Raise Your Hands was somewhat of a precursor of things to come) has taken into consideration that potential dichotomy and has responded accordingly. Streets Of Mumbai (inspired by her recent live performances in Maharashtra) draws from only the most rudimentary elements of that basic template and is embellished with a health variety of inspirations.

To wit, the title track reflects a most inspiring flirtation with psychedelia, with subtle touches that would be right at home on a Uni Records-era Strawberry Alarm Clock album. In turn, Jailhouse makes a slight left turn into Wheels Of Fire-era Cream territory, offset succinctly by Landolt’s fine vocal balance between the pomp of Etta James and the relative finesse of Linda Jones.

Hole In My Heart is the only track featured here that draws from that aforementioned template. However, it is enhanced most inspiringly by Colin John’s guitar work and Nate Hollman’s keyboard flourishes, which combine to give the track more of a Big Brother And The Holding Company / Spencer Davis Group feel.

Landolt rounds out the proceedings with the brilliant Shine That Song Like Gold, an unabashed tribute to the great Robert Johnson (complete with numerous lyrical references to Johnson’s work). Not just an insurance policy for the purist perspective, but an acknowledgment of the inspiration, with a determination to follow suit not through slavish imitation, but by utilizing her God given abilities to cast her own shadow. And in that respect, Landolt has most assuredly created (in the words of one of her earlier triumphs) Diamonds On The Desert Floor.