Title - ‘Primitive Son’ (Cleopatra Records)
Artist - Eli Cook
Having had an “eagerly anticipated” album due out for a while now, well, the pressure of delivering must have been huge for Eli Cook. But if you read any or all of his interviews you would know he is one of the most down to earth people; let alone musicians on the planet.
And so the highly-acclaimed blues guitarist finally brings us his 5th studio album Primitive Son, a collection of 14 blues songs that make you hit repeat over and over again. Created with the help of a whole slew of talented, and worldly-known and respected musicians - Leslie West, Pat Travers, Harvey Mandel, Artimus Pyle, Vinny Appice, Tinsley Ellis, Rod Piazza and members of Gov’t Mule and Double Trouble -Cook is now well and truly off and running, that’s for sure.
Having taken up the guitar as a teenager in the Blue Ridge foothills of Virginia, hat vibe can definitely be heard within the first song ’War Horse.’ A song that most certainly sets the tone for what’s to come it is backed by ‘Revelator,’ a harder track with a lot of lyrical heart. Especially as it features Vinny Appice on drums. The Nickelback-esque ‘Sweet Thang’ (featuring Tinsley Ellis on additional guitar) is a pop-blues mash up, with the stronger blues feel of ‘High In The Morning’ (featuring Sonny Landreth on the impeccable slide guitar and Reese Wynans on the B3 organ) following along thereafter. The slower semi-acoustic ‘Won’t Be Long’ allows Cook to deepen his vocal guise and it actually works very well. Indeed, there’s a few moments there that you question if it’s actually still Cook singing!
Next up is ‘Motor Queen’ (featuring the always reliable Leslie West on additional guitar) and allows Cook to get his bluesy-grunge on, before the funky blues of ‘Be Your Fool’ (featuring Rod Piazza) come a’knockin’. With great use of the harmonica from Piazza, it fairly seamlessly slides into ‘Swing A Little Harder,’ before the bass intro from Rob Richmond and the guitar work of Harvey Mandel brings us the jam of ‘Shake The Devil Down.’
‘Tall & Twisted’ brings us some vocal distortion coupled with more Southern slide guitar from Cook, before the hardest track on the new album is busted out. Featuring Pat Travers on additional guitars and duel vocals, not to mention the great drum legend Artimus Pyle, ‘The Great Southern Love Kill’ is one monster of a blues track to behold. Quite possibly the best track on the album, it is backed by the slower Southern twang of ’Amphetamine Saint’ (featuring Eric Gales on additional guitar), the slow funk blues of the title track, and then finally the organic sound of ’Burying Ground.
Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk