Blues Rock Review: Fankhauser Cassidy Band-On The Blue Road

Release Date: 4th November 2013
Label: Gonzo Multimedia

Merrell Fankhauser and Ed Cassidy were friends and fellow musicians. Ed Cassidy was the oldest living active drummer forever until he passed away December 6, 2012 at the age of 89. The man was a rarity, playing the drums well into his 80s. On the back of the reissued CD On The Blue Road booklet Ed is quoted as saying “No matter how old you are it’s important to keep the child alive inside.” Good advice from a man that knew how to live and enjoy life to the fullest. Merrell really misses Cass and this reissue is a testament of the chemistry the two musicians had. On The Blue Road has been reissued by Gonzo Multimedia as two disc set for all blues rock lovers to enjoy.

Fankhauser has always had the versatility to play any kind of music but he has excelled playing surf and the blues particularly. Those talents are on display on this entertaining set. Merrell’s son Tim (vocals, guitar) is also on the album along with Pete Sears of Jefferson Starship fame as well as many other guests that contributed to the great sounds produced on the set.

The combination of all the instruments that are part of these tracks makes for a real rock ‘n’ roll blues party. All the vocals that were laid down are excellent from start to finish as well. Fankhauser’s vocals always have a way of setting me at ease and they reach right inside me and touch my soul. When you find an artist that does that for you, you want hang on to that feeling and continue listening to their work. I have been listening now for over 20 years and do not plan on stopping.

What I found most impressive is how powerful and soulful Tim Fankhauser’s vocals were. It surprises me that his musical career has not continued because he sure has the talent and shows why the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. This is illustrated perfectly on “Possession over Judgment Day” and “Further On Up The Road.” “Further On Up The Road” is the perfect lead off track and it sets the tone for the entire session. From that point it’s the pedal to the metal all the way down the blues rock road without ever running out of gas. Tim’s vocals, some killer slide acoustic guitar and lonesome wailing harmonica are outstanding features on the classic “Possession over Judgment Day.” This is a blues song to die for and done with the utmost respect for all those that came before every member of the FCB. This kind of hot blooded soulful jam would penetrate any emotional wall that you could possibly have. It cuts like a knife and leaves behind the embers inside burning bright.  Speaking of burning…“Who Shout The Lightnin’” is as good as it gets for a rockin’ blues track. It is smokin’ hot blues with all the trimmings and the best track on the entire set because it embodies everything that the blues is about.

There are a ton of key tracks on this set but since this release is dedicated to Ed Cassidy I had to choose “Cassidy’s Big Beat” as one of my choices. His life and his playing said it all, he was the big beat and he left behind quite a legacy. The track is an instrumental gem and larger than life with its booming drums and explosive beats to carry you through to next track. Gonzo Multimedia has become one of the best reissue labels and they keep going back to the rich well of releases that Merrill Fankhauser has to offer. That is a good idea so keep them coming Gonzo!

5/5 Stars

Key Tracks: Possession over Judgment Day, Further On Up The Road, Cassidy’s Big Beat, Who Shout The Lightnin’

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-Write A Music Review Founder

March 7, 2014

Disc 1:
01. Further On Up The Road
02. 32/20 Blues
03. Bright Lights Big City
04. Excited (M. Fankhauser)
05. Walking The Dog
06. Louisana Blues
07. High Heel Sneakers
08. Tale Of Misty Mountain (M. Fankhauser)
09. Possession over Judgment Day
10. On The Blue Road (M.Fankhauser)
11. Nickys Song (M.Fankhauser)
12. Psychedelic Dreams (M. Fankhauser)

Disc 2:
01. Hot Night In Louisville (M.Fankhauser)
02. Milk Cow Blues
03. Who Shout The Lightnin (M.Fankhauser)
04.Goin Back To Delta (M. Fankhauser)
05.Stolen Guitar Blues (M.Fankhauser & E.Cassidy)
06. Brian Berry Blues (M.Fankhauser & E.Cassidy)
07. Cosmic Lady (M.Fankhauser & T. Fankhauser)
08. Voodoo In The Jungle (M.Fankhauser)
09. Cassidys Big Beat (E.Cassidy)
10. Long Rifle ( T. Fankhauser)
11. Papa Told Me (Larry Willey)
12.Ed Cassidy Interview

Review Provided By Write A Music Review

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