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Howard Glazer – Stepchild Of The Blues | Album Review

Howard Glazer – Stepchild Of The Blues.
City Hall Records.
9 Tracks – 43 minutes.

Detroit’s Howard Glazer offers us a strong mix of  blues on this album, essentially a trio with Howard on guitar and vocals, Charles David Stuart on drums and Chris Brown or Chuck Bartels on bass.  Larry Marek adds organ on three tracks, Harmonica Shah guests on two cuts and Maggie McCabe and Stephanie Johnson add vocals throughout.

The album opens in winning style with “Don’t Love You No More”, plenty of driving guitar, Howard overdubbing his strong leads on top of a catchy, chugging rhythm and some exciting drumming.  “Shakin’” adopts the Bo Diddley signature beat, the girls providing some solid backing vocals and Howard bending the strings above the rhythm.  “Gas Pump Blues” shows Howard’s strengths as a writer with some acerbic commentary on the rising cost of living as well as a change of style as Howard switches to resonator and Harmonica Shah adds some nice harp while the rhythm section sits this one out. 

“Telephone Blues” is a classic slow blues with the organ filling out the sound as well as underpinning Howard’s precise, ringing guitar playing. Once again, Howard shows that he has a way with words as he tells us how his girl doesn’t reply to his calls and that “I bought you a brand new wrist watch; you never know what time to come home”.  Sounds like there is little hope for that relationship, Howard!  However, Howard is not exactly a saint either, as demonstrated in “Honey & Spice” where he has more than one relationship on the go at once, but seems to have a preference for the girl in Detroit who “wakes me in the morning with her honey and her spice”.  Lots of slide on this one make it a real winner.  “Somewhere” is a very melodic tune with an acoustic riff at its core, over which Howard plays in more of a ‘twangy’ guitar style and the chorus is rounded out with strong harmonies and the organ. 

“Cried All My Tears” is a slide-driven rocker while “Liquor Store Legend” is a catchy shuffle with some more of Howard’s sense of humour as he recounts how he has gained fame tracking down the best deals for his ‘adult beverage’ needs.   Howard’s solo takes us a little way into the country while the organ adds a touch of 60’s cool to the proceedings.  The CD closes with “Hurtful Feeling”, the track starting with Howard’s keening slide before the band joins in and Harmonica Shah blows impressively. 

Howard’s voice is pretty rough and ready but works well on these songs and his guitar playing is strong throughout.  An enjoyable CD which should find a ready audience for Howard outside his native Detroit.

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