Israeli blues-rockers The Blues Rebels released their second album earlier this year, and it is a solid success. Produced by Blues Hall of Famer Joe Louis Walker, it consists of 12 original numbers by vocalist and harmonica player Dov Hammers and guitarist Andy Watts. With the reset of the group, Amos Springer on bass, Avi Barak on drums and Martan Ashkenazy on keys, they mix Chicago blues and rock to create energetic music of the highest order.
On the first song, “Change My Ways,” the style and Hammers’ gravelly voice remind this reviewer of the classic group Chicago. There’s some sweet harmonica and guitar work in it, too. “Voodoo Land” is a tough song with pounding drums and guitar and keyboards that build the tension backing up Hammers’ frantic vocal. “Good Enough” slows things down to a looping blues, the opening wail of the harmonica introducing the mood of the song: “It’s never fair, but it’s good enough…” Run Dry” is modern blues and appears twice on the album, once as a straight-forward blues rocker and again as an electronic remix, which works far better than you might expect.
“Someday,” a highlight of the album, features a solid vocal and harp work by Hammers backed by some excellent acoustic and electric guitar by Joe Louis Walker.Walker is also featured on vocals on “Everybody Loves My Baby,” a rocking blues with a familiar theme. “Burnin’ Deep” is another highlight, a slow blues with haunting, shimmering guitar work from Watts and some nice keyboard enhancement Hammers delivers a deeply emotional vocal and overall, this is a small gem of a song. “Shadows’ is slow and sad, with heartfelt acoustic and electric guitar from Walker, Ashkenzya and Watts. “Storm” shows these Israeli musicians can handle a bit of Southern American rock, while “Old School” lets the whole band get funky. “Blues Dreams’ is sweet and calm, with Hammers on harp and Watts on guitar making some really beautiful music together.
The Blues Rebels can get heavy, jazzy, funky, soft and soft. They are talented and versatile and always keep the blues base. You will want to add this group to the list of great international blues artists.