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CD Review
The Blues Daddy
The Blues Daddy
(Rootetoot Records - Independent Release)
by John Taylor
Review date: December 2001

WithPermission from Blues On Stage
1999 KBA Award Winner
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by the Blues Foundation
music bar I suspect few readers of this review will enjoy a personal aquaintance with Terry Blankley, a.k.a. The Blues Daddy. More's the pity, as he's one of the coolest cats and fascinating raconteurs it's been my pleasure to meet.

Now based in Oshawa (just outside of Toronto), Terry's been a professional musician for some fifty-odd years now, and has the stories to prove it - including the one regarding his success as a country artist (!) in the European market. Recorded in his own studios, this self-titled effort is a first under his own leadership.

Terry, who plays both keys and harmonica, is joined here by friends Doug Swain on drums, bassist Danny Sandford, Bruce Gorrie on sax, and an extensive cast of guitarists too numerous to list here. Suffice to say that instrumental support is uniformly excellent throughout, including Terry's own keyboard work. (Effective though it is, his harp work never really ventures beyond the rudimentary here).

One doesn't spend as many nights singing in smoky bars as Terry has without picking up a certain grit, a bit of sandpaper in the voice. Terry has it in spades, a natural, convincing authenticity that makes one believe every phrase he sings. Which brings us to the disc's lone problem; for whatever reason, Terry occasionally either over-sings here or has chosen to process his voice in ways that detract from his naturally laconic delivery. When he relaxes and simply goes with what comes naturally, he's damn near magnificent; witness "Jarvis Street," or the breezy "The Old Bluesman," where he sounds uncannily like Mark Knopfler, or the harder-edged "Mississippi Love Machine," where he growls and shouts with the kind of authority one wouldn't dream of questioning. But elsewhere one gets the impression he was just a little too eager to try out some new studio trickery, and rather than enhance it merely obscures his talent. Next time he'd do well to stick with the simple and straighforward; he doesn't need any help, and the less there is between that voice and the listener the better.

Terry's originals here are spiced here with a few well-chosen covers, placing him in much the same musical territory as Charlie Rich; like the Silver Fox, his is a borderless blend of country, blues, and R&B melded into a seamless whole. Nice stuff for the end of the evening, when you're all alone and the blues are the best company you're likely to find.
Rootetoot Records
690 Simcoe Street North,
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada L1G 4V7
E-Mail: zzzz@sympatico.ca

- John Taylor BOS

The Blues Daddy - 2001 - Rootetoot Records

Who's your blues daddy? Well it just might be Terry B. (Terry Blankley) from Oshawa, Ontario. This captivating disc recorded on his own label, Rootetoot Records, oozes a British blues sound much like that of the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation from the late sixties. For those not familiar with that group, Dunbar did blues-jazz solo work after stints as the drummer for John Mayall and on Jeff Beck's "Truth" album.

Terry B. is the keyboardist and vocalist on all tracks. All songs, except two cover songs, are well written originals covering a broad range of subjects and styles. Most are blues based, but there is a healthy dose of different jazz influences. He also has a forced deepness to his voice that actually fits the music styles and lowdown subject matter.

The disc starts off with a slow piano and electric guitar driven song titled Nothin' But the Blues, that let's you know the blues is his only need in life. It moves into a track with distorted singing called Will Love Come Callin', which has a brilliantly crafted sound that features a shaker which gives it a real "down on the street" gritty feel. This is the song that really reminds me of the Aynsley Dunbar connection.

A beatnik sound pervades Jarvis St. which is a fast moving swampy jazz ditty that describes a vixens' lifestyle on the infamous Toronto street. The Ports of Call, is a slow piano driven swing done almost in a fifties do-wop kinda style.

Now there are several songs titled and written about a Hurricane, but his is the best one I have heard. It starts off with a nice bass line riff and some crisp piano banging, and is followed up by an electric guitar which rips off some damn moving notes. Mississippi Love Machine, is a barrel house piano boogie with some raw growled out slow vocals and forced pronouncing of each word. I was out of breath just listening to it.

Things speed up with the rocking Wind Me Up Turn Me On, which cranks the listener up into high gear. Lenny, is a slow "cool cat" jazz groove with effective use of the saxophone and sultry female backing vocals.

The album ends with the cover of Trouble in Mind, which showcases the talent of Terry B. on solo piano and vocals.

The presentation of the cover sleeve comes off as amateurish and there are some pretty major typos, but really it's about the music anyways, and that entertains.

Copyright 2002. Review by Warren Dallin.

- Canadian Blues Warren Dallin

Terry B. Rootetoot Records 2001 11 tracks
Terry B. sounds like he's just walked out of the bayou and has a huge toad stuck in his throat. The voice is thick and muddy with a raw edge. The style falls somewhere between the old southern bluesmen and David Clayton Thomas with an agonizing sore throat. There's an authenticity to this voice that cannot be denied. The writing is like that too, with a ragged and real sound that belongs to the blues and shouts out to be heard.

There's nothing slick or commercial about the music on this release. The performance is gritty, aggressive music from half-lit, blue-aired rooms filled with the smell of smoke and alcohol. This is the music that creeps under the doors of side-street bars and into the street outside, taking hold of passers-by and drawing them in to the dark room behind the door. This is good rock and roll. This is good blues.

A studio recording, the music on The Blues Daddy sounds live. It has the sound of a too old sound system pushed to its limits so the music can push through the crowd and be heard. It's music best heard over a brew or a shot in a crowded smoke-filled room, but this set brings the bar room home. All you have to do is dim the lights, pour a drink, and relax. These blues will bring you back to where you want to be.

It doesn't hurt that Terry B. is supported by nine excellent blues musicians and three solid backup vocalists. The sound is full and driving, the sort of music that may let you sit in one place but won't let you doze off. Even the slow songs are driven by a groove that's made to get people up and dancing. All but two of these songs were written by Terry Blankley a.k.a. Terry B. His understanding of the blues and respect for the tradition behind the blues is apparent in every song. Most have the feel of acoustic blues or of the sort of electro-acoustic sound we often heard in the Fifties. All sound authentic enough to have come out of that long-ago era.

Many of these songs sound like the blues-driven rock and roll of a half century ago. "Wind Me Up and Turn Me On" is pure Carl Perkins, with a rocking country beat, blues guitar riffs, and a tongue-in-cheek hillbilly lyric.
Slipping into the world of rhythm and blues, the slow-walking "Ports of Call" ends with a brief tip of the hat to the The Drifters' late-Fifties hit, "Ruby Baby."
Other songs take on a jazzier style, bringing jazz and the blues together in a comfortable marriage. The very B.B. King sounding "Will Love Come Callin'" and the quieter, groovier "Lenny" are two examples of this transition into the world of jazz.
"The Old Bluesman" stands out as the song that departs furthest from what many will consider the blues tradition. This song shuffles along on a backing of Louisiana reggae, not as schlock as Jimmy Buffet's songs and more varied and interesting. This song gives the listener a nice break at the middle of the set. It's like when the band walks off the stage and throws on the jukebox for twenty minutes while the musicians grab a smoke.
One of two songs on this release not written by Blankley, his interpretation of "Trouble in Mind" takes me back to several great recordings of this song released in the Fifties and Sixties. This is a soulful, authentic presentation of a powerful song. Terry B. wails on this number like he's lived with sorrow all his life.
An independent release, The Blues Daddy brings live music to the car stereo and the living room with a level of authenticity that's rare in studio-produced blues records. This release should be added to any collection of contemporary Canadian blues.
Bob MacKenzie Sound Bytes
The reviews are written by Canadian journalist and arts critic Bob
MacKenzie. Spanning a thirty-nine year career, MacKenzie's reviews have
appeared in major newspapers across Canada, been aired on local radio and
television stations as well as regional and national CBC Radio, and been
published on several sites on the internet.


- Bob MacKenzie Soundbytes


The Bluesdaddy, Money Talks,Rob Watson with Jackson Delta.


Feeling a bit camera shy


We play ALL, roots music including, jazz,blues Americana, RnB.etc. A lot of original.
Check my web site www.terryblankley.com