Long Tall Deb & Colin John
Vizztone Label Group
Colin John is a guitarist, vocalist and songwriter whose influences include r & b, soul, funk, jazz, rock, pop, and traditional blues. His debut recording “Grooveyard Devils” was released in 2003. John’s music was hailed as a genre-defying mix.
In 2005 John appeared on Michael Hill’s recording “Black Gold & Goddesses Bold”. John is a surfer and that year he also released “Live Voodoo Surfing from the Beachland”. His last album was 2013’s “Two Sides of the Colin”; I love that title. Guitar Player Magazine said “this is what Jimi Hendrix might have sounded like had he abandoned the rat-race, moved to Hawaii, taken up surfing and let the sun and waves bestow their laid-back highs”.
Long Tall Deb and The Drifter Kings recorded “Diamonds On The Desert Floor” in 2009; the album was produced by Michael Hill. Deb followed up with 2012’s “Raise Your Hands” on the Vizztone Label with guest artists Victor Wainwright, Damon Fowler, JP Soars, Jimmy Thackery, members of Roomful of Blues and Colin John. Deb and John hit it off musically and in 2015 released a four song EP called “Streets of Mumbai”.
This is their first full length recording. The core band includes Deb Landolt, lead and background vocals; Colin John, guitars, baby sitar, lap steel, piano, bass and vocals; Melvin Powe, bass; and Jimmy Castoe, drums. All of the songs except one were written by Deb and John.
“All The Way Down”, is the Intro that opens the album. It’s a tune inspired from time spent together in Mumbai. John’s guitar playing sounds like John Fahey. Another more rockin’ version of the song follows and we get to hear Deb’s beautiful voice as she sings “love can’t do me no harm”. Holman is featured on organ as Mick Kolassa joins Deb and John on the background vocals.
“Dragonfly”, the title track, kind of resets the album as it’s a bit of film noir, like in a spaghetti western. A narrative is sung by Deb as our hero and heroine travel through India and Nepal.
The only cover is “Lungs” from Townes Van Zandt. Performed as a vocal duet the lyric “why don’t you lend your lungs to me, mine are collapsing” implies a dependency on one another. John plays an evocative solo as Chris Stephenson sits in on organ. Jeff Jensen plays rhythm guitar. Another duet “I’ll Be The One” follows. “When you want someone to talk to, let’s talk about it, when you need a friend to hold your hand I’ll be right there”.
On “Remember Why (It’s Good He’s Gone)” John plays the baby sitar and a baritone guitar. This is a great song and another film noir “soundtrack”. Deb grew up in El Paso and she references the legendary L & J Café. Claudia Hernandez, Deb’s friend since eighth grade, is heard speaking the lyrics in Spanish.
“Pull The Pin”, “pull the trigger, revenge is like a grenade waiting to rupture”. John plays another beautiful solo.
“Trouble”, “can’t out run the speed of sound”. This is a great production featuring John on a lap steel. Deb sings both the lead and background vocals. Michael Hill is featured on slide guitar.
“Horizontal Lightning” is an understated tango with the lyric “when I saw you across the crowded room”. “Lights That Shine” is written for Deb’s late dad “you put a roadmap in my head when I was five years old; look at where you are and find out where you want to go”.
“Dragonfly, Slight Return” reprises the title track, re-interprets it, and concludes this outstanding album.
Long Tall Deb and Colin John make mystical music together. They establish their own unique blues orientated identity. This album has to be heard.
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