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Brown Paper Bag by Howard Glazer

Best known until recently as guitarist with the great Harmonica Shah Band, Howard Glazer is an electric guitarist in the mold of Kim Simmons, Johnny Winter and the bluesy side of Hendrix. Blues rock might be the fitting phrase for the work at hand, though the blues influences are unquestionably in control here. The opening title piece, on which Glazer sings about being booted out of the house with what little he had coming in ("she took all my clothes and she put ‘em in a brown paper bag"), showcases his brilliant guitar work. These are unquestionably the licks of a contender. On "Cold, Sad and Lonely" ("The blues is like bad weather/there ain’t nothing you can change"), the guitar work reflects the title with SRV style medium tempo balladry. He switches to stellar slide work on "Steamrollin’ Baby," whips out the Hendrixian wah wah for "Going To Chicago," with fellow Detroiter Maggie McCabe adding delicious vocals, and pulls out all the stops on "Sad Situation," a Buddy Guy-style guitar tour de force.

On "Don’t Love You No More," he’s joined by vocalists Maggie McCabe and Stephanie Johnson on a hook laden medium tempo piece that recalls Delaney and Bonnie at times. "Mean Hearted Woman" is a hard core Detroit blues shuffle that tells the story of a woman who’s "mean in the day and mean all night long." Glazer’s guitar work here is first rate. On "The Dogs They Bark At Midnight" the guitar work again recalls Hendrix at his bluesy best.

Glazer has a raspy expressive voice that sometimes is at odds with the guitar work, though just as often fits perfectly (as here), though his guitar work is never less than jaw-droppingly superb. "Smokin’ and Drinkin’" ("every day and night/got to twist one up to feel alright"), a partying song that benefits from the aforementioned gal singers, is a crowd favorite, though I prefer the serious musicianship of the closing sketch entitled "Freedom." Bassist Bob Godwin and drummer Charles Stuart are the foundation over which Glazer performs his guitar magic and their in-the-pocket accompaniment throughout makes this one of the best blues trios to come down the road in years.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Howard Glazer
  • CD Title: Brown Paper Bag
  • Genre: Blues
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Random Chance
  • Rating: Four Stars
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