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CD Review -- Nick Moss & the Fliptops

 

NICK MOSS & THE FLIPTOPS

Live at Chan’s - Combo Platter No. 2

Blue Bella Records

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by Eric Steiner

 

First of all, I wanted to apologize to Nick Moss & the Flip Tops for this rather tardy write-up.  I’ve been sitting on it ever since I received Live at Chan’s Combo Platter No. 2 earlier this year, but one thing led to another – catching the band live at Rum Boogie during this year’s Blues Music Awards in Memphis, then watching Kate Moss expertly trade her bass for a guitar at Aurora’s Blues on the Fox after-party at Ballydoyle in June, as she sat in with Armando Cortez & the Chicago Blues Angels – life just plain got in the way.

 

Well, I’m finally pleased to shout loudly about the follow-up to 2007’s Live at Chan’s Vol. 1, which garnered Blues Music Award nominations in the Album of the Year and Traditional Album of the Year categories.  Nick and his Flip Tops returned last summer to Chan’s in Rhode Island to record 10 songs and over 79 minutes of live blues, and the results on Live at Chan’s Combo Platter No. 2 are blues magic.  Gerry “The Trouble Shooter” Hundt does a nice job on mandolin on “Whiskey Makes Me Mean,” and his classic harp stylings are second to none on “I Got All Kinds of Love” and “Lonesome Bedroom Blues.”  Lurrie Bell sits in with Nick and they trade guitar leads on “Don’t You Lie To Me,” “Five Long Years,” and “I’m Ready.”  The latter is one of my favorite songs from Willie Dixon’s blues canon, and Lurrie leads it off with some nuanced and hopeful vocals, he and provides some searing guitar solos alongside Nick’s combustible leads.  Lurrie likewise leads off “Five Long Years” with impassioned vocals, followed up with expert note-bending on his fire-engine red Gibson guitar.

 

If you like both contemporary and traditional blues wrapped up in a tidy, single package, order Live at Chan’s Combo Platter No. 2.  You’ll not only see what Blues Foundation nominators and voters have seen in Nick Moss and the Flip Tops: you’ll experience one of the most traditional bands updating classic blues lines masterfully and respectfully, with an eye to the future of the blues.

 

Craig Ruskey’s liner notes shine a light on each of the multi-talented Flip Tops, and the CD graphics capture Chan and the band having a hell of a lot of fun.  I’ve seen Nick Moss and the Flip Tops in Memphis and Chicago, and hope that Chicago Blues Guide.com readers will do so soon wherever and whenever they can.  The 13-minute version of “Five Long Years” is the CD’s peak for me.  I listen to the incendiary leads that Nick and Lurrie trade, and I get goose bumps.  The same type of goosebumps I got when I used to see Muddy and Willie in the early ‘70s in Chicagoloand.  It’s that good.

 

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