Picks and Pans Review: I Know What You're Thinkin'

UPDATED 08/08/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 08/08/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT

The Tom Principato Band

Once in a very blue moon, a bluesman like Robert Cray or Stevie Ray Vaughan will capture national recognition. But the vast majority of blues acolytes labor late at night in small, smoky clubs without hope of fame or glory. Every region has its blues heroes, and the Washington, D.C., area's resident lamenter is Principato. The guitarist is no rube. He leads off his second album with his best shot, a nasty and sassy rumble entitled I Won't Recover and goes on to display a good deal of versatility. The countrified Rose Marie is what you'd get if you transplanted Willie and the Hand Jive to Louisiana. The Grateful Dead could sound this good if Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir played punchy solos instead of picking whacked-out mantras on their guitars. Principato's Blue Lights is one of those lonely-as-a-night-train instrumentals. Principato also has a solid, takin'-care-of-business voice that recalls Kim Wilson of the Fabulous Thunderbirds. But it's his guitar prowess that merits attention. Principato effortlessly shifts tones on his Telecaster. He's an excellent note bender and a concise, gritty player with an experienced ear for building to multiple climaxes in his solos. Listening to this album is almost like making the trip to see Principato in some dark roadhouse off the Capital Beltway. Except there won't be a bartender present, so BYOB. (Power-house)

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