Roy Rogers-Split Decision Review

Artist: Roy Rogers
Title: Split Decision
Genre: Blues-Rock
Label: Blind Pig
Amazon Link

There is nothing like a good blues-rock album to get your blood circulating and if it’s good enough it can serve as aphrodisiac. In the case of the first Roy Rogers album with The Delta Rhythm Kings in seven years, all of the above are applicable.

Split Decision is well crafted for more than your typical hot blooded blues audience, this has some gripping songwriting and outstanding guitar playing, most notably some blistering slide with both acoustic (“Your Sweet Embrace”) and electric (“Patron Saint of Pain” and several others) that would appeal to a wide array of listeners.

Rogers has many talents and one of the more recognized besides his acumen with the six-string are his producing of legendary bluesman such as John Lee Hooker and Ramblin' Jack Elliott followed by several Grammy nominations for the work. Having one foot in the production and the other in making the music is a combination that can only work for the most talented and experienced in the music industry and Rogers qualifies unequivocally.

I enjoyed the clearly stated lyrics backed by driving rhythms and scorching red-hot guitar licks that Rogers and The Delta Rhythm Kings produce from the beginning to the finish line of this production. The instrumentals are awe inspiring workouts of blues, rock, jazz, and a fusion, real cookers that linger on long after the song has completed and moved on to the next track. Fine examples of this musical showcase are “Your Sweet Embrace” and “Rite of Passage”, which surely are indicative of the veterans’ nod to the legends that inspired him to pick up a guitar in the first place. And finally the closer “Walkin' the Levee” a fitting instrumental, although brief in comparison to the others, is a grungy blues rocker with a killer saxophone to bring it on home for the team.

Rogers is not only a fine musician and producer, he knows how to write then deliver each track with just as much emotion with singing as playing. This music is like the deadly venom of a rattlesnake bite, the kind that feels good, like sweet pain but it spares your life in the end and gives you the blues so you get try to dodge the bullet just one more time.

Signing on with Blind Pig was a good choice for Rogers and his mates, they like their rivals Alligator, have served the blues very well for many years. Now they have a man that gives back to the people and the blues what it so justly deserves, blues-rock with all the emotion and dedicated musicianship that it has always meant to have.

5/5 Stars

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck

April 28, 2009

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01. Calm Before the Storm
02. Patron Saint of Pain
03. Little Queen Bee
04. River of Tears
05. Bitter Rain
06. Your Sweet Embrace
07. Someone Like You
08. Rite of Passage
09. Requiem for a Heavyweight
10. I Would Undo Anything
11. Holy Ghost Moan
12. Walkin' the Levee

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