David Gogo is a superb blues guitarist whose live shows are always a welcome treat! Gogo’s recent CD Skeleton Key shows off Gogo’s guitar wizardry quite well.
The opening tune, "Jesse James" rocks up with a real blast! Gogo’s slide playing is mouthwatering as usual. If you weren’t awake when this tune started, you will be when it finishes. Things slow down with the introspective "I Can Still Hear You Crying." Romantic yearnings of "miss you so" are nicely balanced by the ‘remorseful crying’ in Gogo’s lead guitar riffs.
The pace picks up again with "Stay Away From Home." Gerry Barnum’s blues harp playing is a nice touch, adding fire to the momentum. More of Gogo’s great slide playing is heard here, as is Billy Hicks’ hard driving drumming and Todd Sacerty’s heavy duty bass lines. It sounds like Gogo did double layering recording of his slide playing on "Stay Away ... " for additional effect.
The title tune "Skeleton Key" is up next. Lyrics like "I’ve got a skeleton key to your heart", have a gripping effect. Gogo’s band is solid and backs his melodic and resonantly clear lead guitar riffs quite well. Hicks’ energetic drumming as well as Brendan Hedley’s keyboard playing helps fill in the musical ‘spaces’ nicely. "Backstroke" is a rippin’ instrumental that showcases Gogo’s lead guitar virtuosity that’s complemented perfectly by Hopkins’ organ soloing.
"Walkin’" opens with Hicks’ energetic drumming, which initiates a momentum that continues throughout. Barnum’s blues harp playing goes wild, adding inspiration to Gogo’s vocals. "Reap What You Sow" is a classic slow blues lament that showcases Gogo’s guitar genius. His good taste as a guitarist caught the attention of the great B.B. King, who asked Gogo and his amazing blues band to open for him at his outdoor concert at Toronto’s Molson Amphitheatre in the summer of 2005. This writer attended that concert and thoroughly enjoyed it -- as well as Gogo's frequent appearances at Jeff Healey's Roadhouse here in Toronto! He's also toured Australia, and made lots of fans in 'blues oz' territory, in 'the land down under' -- where there's a huge blues following.
"Things Are About To Change" is an up-tempo rockin’ blues full of ‘hellfire’! Gogo’s leads are excitingly refreshing on this one and rock the house real well! His vocals are at their best here too! "It Don’t Make Sense" is a spaced out winner where Gogo really gets into it on guitar with wammy bar and wawa pedal along with distortion, feedback and anything else his imagination can come up with. His guitar ‘delvings’ are mind blowing to say the least and take a trip into the same rock world Hendrix was so adept at ‘exploring.’ At times Gogo’s guitar leads have an effect like a guitar ‘mantra’.
Gogo’s interpretation of the soulful, R&B classic "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" is a welcome addition. It’s one of those tunes the listener can swing and sway to in a very ‘inner’ mode. "Personal Jesus" is surprisingly good. Gogo sings out lyrics like "reach out and touch faith", that are profoundly effective. Barnum really goes at it on blues harp, and the whole rhythm section is solid throughout. "Belgian Moon" is an upbeat party blues winner. Gogo’s scorching guitar leads are awesome to hear -- howling at his favorite ‘moon’.
"Fool For You" is a good choice to end off this very fine CD. Gogo sings out "I’m a fool for you" while his guitar riffs go wild. The ending for "Fool .... " is remarkably ‘surreal.’ It seems to enter another guitar world briefly -- that of Montreal guitar master Frank Marino (lead guitarist and founder of '70s Canadian super-group Mahogany Rush). There’s a ‘twilight zone’-like atmosphere of guitar creativity heard here that’s very special, aptly reflecting the guitar genius that David Gogo surely is!