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CD REVIEW: Hoodoo Revelator - Do Me Right
By Chip Withrow - 05/24/2006 - 12:29 AM EDT

Artist: Band: Hoodoo Revelator
Album: Do Me Right
CD Review: My immediate, visceral reaction to this CD was that, instinctively, I started shaking and shimmying. So did my wife and daughter. This is swaggering, pulsing, get-off-your-butt blues that gets me moving like two of my favorite bands – Canned Heat and Los Lobos.

Hoodoo Revelator can do straight-ahead blues (the choogling “Don’t Want You Know More” and the slow burner “Do Me Right”) like Canned Heat, and they can get out there and funky (“If I Can’t Have You” and the soulful boogie “Come Home”) like Los Lobos. I bet these guys fire these tunes up in front of a crowd – I’d love to hear these ravers stretched to the breaking point in a steamy tavern.

I admire Hoodoo Revelator for having the guts to take on some classics. War’s “Low Rider” and John Lee Hooker’s “Boom Boom” are bar-band staples, and it would be easy to play them like everyone else does. But “Low Rider” zips along at a quicker pace than the original, and it’s laced with harmonica hooks from Mike Chipperini. “Boom Boom” soars when Chipperini and guitarist Jim Chilson cut loose.

The band also puts its stamp on Willie Dixon’s “Do the Do” and Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Checkin’ Up on My Baby.” “Checkin’ Up” has fiery rhythm guitar and a cool tempo shift, but it ends too soon. I think would be a show-stopper if it made the change from r&b into harmonica-intensive straight blues (maybe with a dueling guitar) a second time.

Rock-solid drummer Dave Darling gets a chance to step out, along with Chipperini, on “Chipper’s Blues.” Darling is a force throughout the record, the anchor that drives such get-your-insides-vibrating pounders as Chilson originals “Don’t Want You Know More” and “Eliza.” And what’s cool about Chipperini’s blues harp is that he lays back and contributes rhythm on tunes such as the call-and-response Diddley romp “Eliza.”

“Do Me Right” is the only respite amid the up-tempo numbers, and it’s powerful. It’s written by vocalist Jay Scheffler, and it moans with the wailing organ of guest Tom Nunno. Scheffler is a great, growling vocalist in the esteemed tradition of so many leave-it-on-the-stage-floor bluesmen.

I can picture the barroom and I can see the crowd for a Hoodoo Revelator gig – cool guys bobbing their heads, their girlfriends pulling them onto the dance floor, swaying hippies and fist-pumping bikers. I don’t get to spend too many late nights on the town anymore, but I know the type who likes to cut loose on Saturday, and they would dig Do Me Right.

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