Homewreckin' Done Live

Vintage Guitar Magazine – August 2002

It’s good to hear a pro do it for real. Mel Brown has been around a long time in various situations, and this live performance by him and his band showcases his skills as a player, singer, and interpreter.

While the emphasis is blues standards you probably know, there are a few curveballs, too. My favorite is an instrumental of Michael Jackson’s "Billie Jean". Worked up somewhere between funk, classic R&B, and disco, it glides along beautifully under the weight of some excellent soloing by Mel.

One of the really nice things about this is that the tunes are familiar, but Brown and the band manage to re-work them to make them sound fresh. For instance, "The Sky is Crying" sounds as good and interesting as any song could when you’ve heard it a million times. Check out Mel’s solo, which starts with him singing unison notes with his guitar. From there, he just soars. "Woke Up This Morning" shows his command of the style, with it’s crisp, right-on-the-money notes and great sound. He adds a reggae twist to "Hey Joe", then plays a solo about as far away from the classic Hendrix solo as you can get.

Mel’s band cooks, too, gliding through inventive arrangements of "Hoochie Coochie Man", "Honeybee", "Spoonful", "Turn On Your Lovelight", and the rest, you realize that something new can be brought to the blues genre, and the songs that you’ve heard a million times. An excellent disc from a guy who’s done it before and continues to excel.


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