Album: Try It...You Might Like It: GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor
Genre: Blues Rock, Slide Guitar Blues
Label: Alligator Records
Quality: FLAC (tracks)
- She's Gone (00:04:07)
- Let's Get Funky (00:04:43)
- Sitting At Home Alone (00:04:35)
- Phillips Goes Bananas (00:02:49)
- It's Alright (00:03:50)
- Give Me Back My Wig (00:03:35)
- It Hurts Me Too (00:02:46)
- See Me In The Evening (00:04:59)
- Sadie (00:05:20)
- Hawaiian Boogie (00:02:15)
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Back alley blues stompers GA-20 take listeners to dive-bar heaven on the band’s new release GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor: Try It…You Might Like It! Set to drop August 20th, 2021 via a joint effort between Alligator Records and Colemine Records, the album is a floor-up tribute to storied Chicago blues group Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers and does a fine job of capturing Hound Dog’s joyful spirit and recreating the HouseRockers’ unique no-bass-player sound.
GA-20 rolls as a bass-less trio on a normal day and is very much a descendant of Hound Dog’s legacy anyway so this record is a perfect project for the band to show where it comes from. The lineup of guitarist Matt Stubbs, guitarist/vocalist Pat Faherty, and drummer Tim Carman, dug deep and researched the gear and methods Hound Dog used to create his slashing style and cut his tunes the same way he did. The resulting tracks are mighty beyond measure and will remind you why you love the blues in the first place.
GA-20 has been making music inspired by raw, primordial blues, vintage rock and roll, and rhythm and blues since coming together in 2018. They use period-correct equipment, including the legendary Gibson GA-20 amplifier that gave them their name, and write songs that are both stunningly ancient and refreshingly modern. As you might guess, all three players love Hound Dog Taylor but also pull influence from greats like Otis Rush, J.B. Lenoir, Howlin’ Wolf, Junior Wells.
Theodore Roosevelt “Hound Dog” Taylor was a six-fingered slide guitarist, vocalist, and bandleader who was born in Natchez, Mississippi but became a legend in Chicago for his revved-up and stripped-down take on the city’s blues tradition. Along with guitarist Brewer Phillips and drummer Ted Harvey, Taylor played in small clubs in black neighborhoods and at Chicago’s famous Maxwell Street Market until Alligator Records founder Bruce Iglauer started his label to release Taylor’s first album in 1971. This led to national tours, gigs with Muddy Waters, Freddie King, and Big Mama Thornton, and the well-deserved fame Taylor’s music retains to this very day.
From the opening beats of the first song “She’s Gone,” GA-20 makes it plain that this party is going to run on hard blues, brown liquor, and a wall-to-wall crowd of dancing believers. Pat Faherty’s lead vocals are packed with emotion and sit on top of a frame of slashing guitars and boogie-inducing drums. It’s the street-level sound that launched guitar music into our consciousness way back when, a sound we can all feel instinctively in our bones.
“Let’s Get Funky” takes the groove even higher, with one guitar pumping out bass lines and the other shooting bottleneck sparks and power chords. It’s a bare-knuckle dance track with the power to steam up any bar in the world. It isn’t punk rock but it’s ferocity and straight-razor attitude could share air with the early punk bands that were developing while Taylor’s days were winding down in the middle of the 70s. GA-20 goes ultra hard here and the mastery of this all-feel style they display is astounding. The music is just so PHYSICAL, in a way most modern musicians have forgotten or never knew, that it’s impossible to not get out of your chair and participate in it.
GA-20 also does a masterful job on Taylor’s signature rave-up boogie “Give Me Back My Wig.” This is high-flying good-time music for hardworking people in which perfection is meaningless and energy is everything. You can practically feel the sweat and smell the smoke in the room as GA-20 takes us back to a tougher-than-leather type of partying that’s not so easy to find anymore. Thankfully, they get it exactly right and the experience is overwhelming.
GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor: Try It…You Might Like It! is a smash from beginning to end and does much to keep alive the kind of lowdown blues music that really is in danger of disappearing. Every song jams but be sure you don’t miss “Phillips Goes Bananas,” “It Hurts Me Too,” and “Hawaiian Boogie.” GA-20 deserves mad praise for dropping the kind of platter the world needs just when we all are trying to feel good and heal. Play this loud enough and you’ll feel your soul come back to life. Highly recommended.
By Mike O’Cull