Album Reviews

Mitch Woods

Friends Along the Way

Artist:     Mitch Woods

Album:     Friends Along the Way

Label:     Entone Group Records

Release Date:     09/29/2017

96

This is a simply wonderful album, truly excellent for the most part. Mitch Woods is a hugely talented, explosive pianist with a fine, tenor voice and a rollicking, rolling sense of fun at heart. As a central, core player on the Legendary Blues Cruise each year, Woods’ blues-jams have become the stuff of legend in themselves. And by grabbing a slice of him here, at his best, it’s easy to see why.

It would be all too easy to view this release as a sort-of “various artists” offering but that would be to miss out on the absolutely pivotal role played by Woods himself and his remarkably versatile keyboard chops. Guests on this album include just about everybody of note in the blues world, including a few older cuts from the likes of the late John Lee Hooker. Add Van Morrison, Ruthie Foster, John Hammond, Maria Muldaur, Charlie Musselwhite, Joe Louis Walker, Taj Mahal, Cyril Neville, Kenny Neal, James Cotton and Marcia Ball to the mix, and you have a fair idea of the sheer quality to be found here.

In effect, we have a stunning release featuring some great, high-energy picks all grounded by Woods’ perfectly pitched and pushed piano-work. Little short of a masterpiece, this is without doubt an album to add to any blues-lover’s collection.

—Iain Patience

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