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"ELMORE-Crossroad Ritual"

I must admit I was skeptical as to what I’d be hearing from a blues band from Greece. Could musicians from the land of Aristotle and Socrates get what Muddy and the Wolf were puttin’ down? The 12 tracks on this disc shattered my preconceptions and were nothing short of mesmerizing, even trance inducing.

Crossroad Ritual sounds like a collaboration between Tom Waits and Robert Johnson, recorded at 3 A.M. on a hot summer night. “The Blues That’s Callin’,” a haunting track that features a sparse arrangement of simply vocal, harmonica and cowbell sets the tone for the CD. Vocalist Paul Karapiperis can sound downright scary, lending credence to the Waits comparisons. Things get even more hypnotic with the slow blues groove of “Cold in Hand and Lonesome” and the jazz-on-acid feel of “Up and Down.”

What you’ll hear from Small Blues Trap is not your average 12-bar Chicago blues. Think of John Lee Hooker’s stark foot tapping a la “I’m Bad Like Jesse James” and you’ll be halfway there. The feel is such that the title to slow burner “Your Mother Told You That I Play The Devil’s Music” seems all the more credible. The vibe continues with standouts like the driving “The Rusty Train” and instrumentals “Rememberin’ Peter” and “Hoodoo & Gris Gris” (featuring reverbed harmonica through a wah-wah pedal).

Small Blues Trap proves on Crossroad Ritual that the blues is a universal language, albeit a language with many different dialects. This band takes musical elements such as Delta blues and smooth jazz and weaves them into their own slightly off-kilter hypnotic sound. If you’re an open-minded blues fan, you’ll dig this. Turn the lights down low, close your eyes, and lose yourself in this one.

Mark Uricheck


"BLUESWAX-Crossroad Ritual"

Take Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Captain Beefheart, and Tom Waits on a road trip to Greece, introduce them to the locals, hand them some instruments, and the Small Blues Trap could start to be added together. This is an interesting group of musicians with many influences that go well beyond the four mentioned musicians. The Tom Waits reference shows up more in the vocals than anywhere else. Although some of the songs have that carnival music atmosphere that Waits plays so effectively.

Small Blues Trap is a group that can't really be classified as any one style. They play music with deep influences from the American dirt. Many of the rhythms here hail back to the sounds of Elmore James, Jimmy Reed, or Muddy, but have an updated twist. This group is excellent at creating moods and atmosphere with the music. "Crossroad Ritual" and "Up and Down" are two perfect examples and highlight the album. The downside of the album is that the songs all start to sound alike after awhile. "Vat 69" is a three-and-a-half-minute song that feels like it lasts longer due to the fact that it is just one groove over and over. The groove is not strong and is just there. It doesn't jump out, doesn't get ya groovin' at all.

"Crossroad Ritual" has a dark, gothic atmosphere. This might be the first Goth-Blues album I've heard. You can also describe the album as haunting, eerie, or foreboding. These aren't words I've ever used on a review before, but that's what you get here. This is definitely not an album full of old Blues licks that have been buried long ago. SBT present a new sound ode to old styles.

If you would like to hear Blues played with an orange twist, then try this album out. Most of the population who are more accustomed to the Tommy Castro-type of Blues won't be jumping for this album. This album will well suit the folks who like hearing an array of sounds on the seedier side of the tracks. For a group of guys from Greece, they have tapped into the dirty American soil and taken a mouthful.

Kyle M. Palarino

"BLUES ART STUDIO-Crossroad Ritual"

I wonder if there are many Greek Blues Bands in the world. If so, are they as good as SBT, first impressions are of a Chicago Blues Band crossed with a very excited Skiffle Group.

Accompanying some very tight and controlled piercing harp is a collection of some of the most appealingly perceptive and highly emotional blues guitar and slide I’ve heard lately, which is superbly provided by both guitarists; firstly, Paul Karapiperis, who also provides the aforementioned stunning harp play, he also takes lead vocals in a manner that clearly explains why the blues is the universal currency of despair.Completing the double pronged guitar assault is Panagiotis Daras.

Lefteris Besios provides a bulwarking bassline; finally George Poulos displays his excellent skills: not only on the drums but with an array of percussion instruments that sometimes sound not only ramshackle but downright tin drum and triangle, yet, the effect is truly inspiring. The jagged edged, almost morbidly medieval, sound effects he creates, jar the senses somewhat but if you stick with it you are richly rewarded.

This is a truly European blues recording; it has none of the slick smoothness found on some of the American blues albums you may have heard.The earthy grittiness and rough edges (musically speaking that is ;) work tremendously well and only adds to the enjoyment on offer.
Certainly one for the collection!

Brian Harman

"BLUES BYTES-Crossroad Ritual"

This is the first time that I’ve heard of a blues band from Greece, and I wasn’t sure what to expect – it’s a lot more than “Can a white man sing the blues”!I have to say, right at the beginning, that I’m impressed by these guys – they know what the blues is all about.

The album gets off to a slow start with “The Blues That’s Callin’” – a stripped down blues with harmonica, vocal, and not much else – it really generates an atmosphere and then makes way for “Cold In Hand And Lonesome” , a moody, slow, blues with some really lovely harmonica riffs.

The tempo starts to pick up with “If You Flag My Train” – this is a superb track, with all sorts of old blues influences showing through – Bukka White, Son House, Muddy Waters, all contributing to the music, and again some more great harmonica from Paul Karapiperis.

The title track to the album, “Crossroads Ritual” showcases some slide guitar work that really gels. Vocalist & harmonica player Karapiperis shows that he can also handle a bit of slide guitar work and the resonator guitar that he uses has a rich tone to it.

My only real criticism of this fine CD – the lack of sleeve notes. The music is good, the production is good – but please, tell us more about the band, the music, the recording!!I’m assuming that all of these tracks are originals, written by the band, which makes their talent even more impressive.

On track 8 “I Scream, I Play, I Feel”, Panagiotis Daras displays some fine slide guitar work, and it’s hard to choose which of the two guitarists produces the best sound on slide on this album.

On the “Rusty Train” Paul Karapiperis takes his voals onyo a different level, and he sounds a lot like an early Joe Cocker – not a bad thing!I have to mention the bass playing of Lefteris Besios here, because he really shines through on this track.

This reinforces the impression that this band can change the tone, and style, of their music without a problem – rather than just sounding the same the whole way though the album, they let all of their different influences peep through from the background.

Two of the tracks have a guest appearance from sax player Angelos Psarras, “UP & Down” and “VAT69”, which again changes the style of music – and leaving his mention till last – by no means the most insignificant member of the band – Drummer George Poulos lays down some excellent rhythm section foundation of “Your Mother Told You That I Play The Devil’s Music” and “Remembering Peter” – this letter track being my favourite on the CD and I assume that the Peter referred to is Peter Green as the track immediately brought him to mind with the beautiful guitar work from Daras.

Terry Clear


"ROOTSTIME-Crossroad Ritual"

I never thought I would review a Greek blues band in my life, let alone a GOOD Greek blues band, and when this happened, one would expect a band that would do covers of well known songs, such as "Sweet Home Chicago" or"Hoochie Coochie Man" and other covers you hear for the millionth time as a reviewer of blues cd's.

Instead, what we have here is a mix of good traditional blues influences, played with great skill and feeling, and vocals by a singer called Paul Karapieris, who sounds like Tom Waits or Beefheart or the new blues hero Ian Siegal, but most of the time like all 3 of them, he also is a great harp player, and the Chicago blues influences, mixed with his gritty, Tom Waits-like voice, form that unique sound for this Greek blues bands second CD.

But..what makes the sound even more special is their love for mixing odd en experimental noises with their music.

There is nothing against trying something new, but in this case, it spoils some of the fun.

Take for instance "Crossroad Ritual" a good blues song, until it sounds like somebody is grinding pebblestones, and somebody else is playing with some baby's music box.

If you keep in mind that the CD is only just over 40 minutes, it's a pity even more.

But luckily this happens only a few times, so the balance stays on the "good" side.

If this band keeps the urge to experiment a bit under control (their sound is original enough without this) they might become big outside of Greece also.

Paul Karapiperis in the first place, but also the rest of the Small Blues Trap, deserve an international audience in my opinion. And after 30 years of listening to blues for a job, I should know by now.

Ronny Bervoets



Still working on that hot first release.



Currently at a loss for words...