Album review: Mescalito Blues | Tall, Tails, True

Well traversed, guitar-toting troubadour Gavin Doniger, who’s been plying his real-deal blues both here and overseas for over 20 years, returns with a new album recorded in full band mode, under the name Mescalito Blues. The project has been active for over 12 years now and allows Doniger, who often plays in solo or duo format, to bust out and display his considerable talents in full blown blues-rock mode.

The latest release from Mescalito Blues, ‘Tall, Tails, True’, features a white-hot cast of musical cohorts, including Liam Bowditch and Glenn Heffernan. The album is a tip-top solid collection of belters from the backroads, featuring the raw, gravelly, Tom Waits channelling vocals of Doniger.

Opening number ‘Nobody Rides For Free’, kicks things off with a memorable, boogie-rock shuffle. While ‘Little Mumma’ brings jaunty thrills off the back of an insistent, head nodding bounce.

‘Show Me The Devil’ is a hard rocking number tailor-made for sweaty pubs, while ‘My My My’ stirs in some early rock and roll vibes to the album’s bluesy template. And ”Shake It For The Money’ delivers a dose of upbeat, voodoo rock stylings to proceedings.

‘I Need A Job’ is another top-notch blues-rock shuffler, featuring Doniger’s exemplary guitar work and complemented by some tasty keyboard licks laid down by Gold Coast lad George Carpenter, who also doubled down on production duties for the record, which was recorded at Woodstock Studios in Melbourne.

Another album highlight is the track ‘Oh Lord’, which Doniger wrote with his 88 year-old great uncle Jefferey, an old bushy whose outback tales inspired many of the album’s songs, and whose face appears on the album’s cover artwork.

Things concludes with the smoky lament that is ‘Cold Hard Stare’, bringing down the curtain on a rock solid collection with plenty of dirt under the fingernails.

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Tall, Tails, True is available on vinyl from beatniks

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