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CD REVIEW -- Rockin' Johnny & Quique Gomez
GLT blues radio

ROCKIN’ JOHNNY & QUIQUE GÓMEZ

 Dos Hombres Wanted

VizzTone

VT-JB01

Rockin Johnny & Quique Gomez cd

By Pierre Lacocque

1.  Your Charm Won’t Help You, 4:11:  2. Take It Like It Is, 4:25;  3.  You Can’t Steal My Sugar, 4:03;  4.  The Jinx, 4:09; 5.  Funny But True, 4:34;  6. Ain’t No Higher Roller, 3:38;  7. Everybody Loves My Baby, 4:57;  8.  Coffee Can Blues, 4:20 ; 9.  Livin’ Day By Day, 6:47; 10.  Otro Hombre, 6:17; 11.  Step It Up Bro, 4:39; 12.  The Right To Hurt Me, 4:28; 13.  Are You Ever, 3:38; 14.  Don’t Blame Shorty, 3:47

Total Time: 65 minutes     

14 tracks, 12 originals and 2 blues classics: “Funny But True” by Robert Lockwood Jr., and “Don’t Blame Shorty” by Hudson Whittaker (Tampa Red).

Producers: Rockin’ Johnny Burgin & Quiqué Gómez

Mixed and Mastered by Kid Andersen at Greaseland Studios, San Jose, CA.

Musicians

Rockin’ Johnny - Guitar, Vocals (1, 4, 6-8, 11-13) 

Quique Gómez - Harp, Vocals (2-3, 5, 9-10, 14)

Eric Przygocki - Bass

Stephen Dougherty - Drums

Josh Fulero - Guitar (2, 9, 11)

Greg Izor - Harp on “Are You Ever” (13)

Faris Jarrah - Trombone (11)

Christian Dozzler - Piano, Accordion

Cover Painting - J. D. Sipe,

Design - Aiyisha Sipe

Photography - Bárbara Sánchez Palomero

All songs, except “Funny But True”, “Livin’ Day to Day”, and “Don’t Blame Shorty” were recorded in Austin, TX (Alnico Studios). “You Can’t Steal My Sugar”, “Everybody Loves My Baby”, and “Don’t Blame Shorty” were recorded at the Casa de Madera, Toledo, Spain. The Spanish recordings feature David Salvador Fructuoso on bass, and Pablo Baréz del Cueto on drums. 

About the Protagonists

Rockin’ Johnny and Quique Gómez have a long recording and touring history in their own right. They have worked on and off together since 2010. There is more info available on Rockin’ Johnny than on Quique Gómez. Hopefully after this recording, Quique’s name will become better known to the world-wide Blues community. He deserves it.

Quique Gómez

Quique Gómez hails from Madrid, Spain.  He started playing the harmonica at 18 years old, and 2 years later formed his first band, “Juan Bourbon, Juan Scotch & Juan Beer.” Besides the harmonica, Quique also plays guitar and mandolin.

He has performed with Chicago blues masters like John Primer, Bob Stroger, Jimmy Burns, Kenny Blues Boss Wayne, and Eddie C. Campbell, among others.

He recorded with blues singer Lorenzo Thompson (Do The Siesta, 2010; Record Co. N/A). He also recorded with Willie Buck in Madrid, and appears on his 2011 album Willie Buck – Songs For Muddy (Gaztelupeko Hotsak, GH194).

When not touring Quique fronts his own band: Quique Gómez & His Vipers. He recorded his first album in 2017 (Dealin’ With The Blues, mastered by Kid Andersen). Quique also sings with a Spanish big band, Bob Sand’s Big Band. He is part of an 18-musician orchestra and sings Count Basie and Thad Jones arrangements. Sinatra too! He is the harp player/singer for the Spanish band Gatos Bizcos.

In addition to these commitments, he gives harmonica lessons at  the Escuela de Blues de Madrid (since 2013) and he is the director of the Intensive Blues Course in Béjar, Spain (since 2009). A true musician.

Rockin’ Johnny Burgin

Rockin’ Johnny was born on July 17, 1969 in Starkville, MS, and grew up in Greenville, NC. In his youth he saw blues legends like Guitar Junior, Eddy The “Chief” Clearwater and Gatemouth Brown. His father, an actor, taught him the rudiments of the guitar.

While he had the intention of becoming a writer when he arrived in The Windy City (he studied at the University of Chicago), his life took an unexpected turn when he became involved in blues music. He became a DJ at the University’s radio WHPK. There he met passionate blues lovers - like harp (and sometimes guitar player) Dave Waldman - who introduced him to local clubs and musicians. It is during that time that he acquired his stage name, “Rockin’ Johnny”.

Johnny played with John Brim, Yank Rachell and so many others in the Chicago area. His first band was the Ice Cream Men with Jimmie Lee Robinson (April 30, 1931 – July 6, 2002, also known as “Lonesome Lee”) and James Wheeler’s older brother Golden “Big” Wheeler (December 15, 1929 – July 20, 1998. “Golden” was his true legal first name).  During this time, Johnny started a long-lasting working and recording relationship with Taildragger.

Rockin’ Johnny’s first recording under his name was in 1998, Straight Out Of Chicago (Delmark Records, DE-720). He also toured with Pinetop Perkins and Sam Lay before forming his own band.  He quickly became a well-known and beloved musician throughout the Windy City.

The Rockin’ Johnny Band was indeed in demand. He took a Monday night residency at the Smoke Daddy in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, with Jimmy Burns on vocals. The money was not decent, but the exposure could not have been better. In fact, everything was going amazingly well for him. Then around 2001, the momentum came to an abrupt end. Rockin’ Johnny stopped playing professionally to raise his daughter and to be a family man. That lasted 8 years!

He returned to the blues scene in 2009, divorced, broke, and rusty. Yet, he was welcomed back into the blues community. For those who know Johnny Burgin, there is something undeniably charming about him, both as a person and as a performing musician. Since his start in the ‘90s on Chicago’s West Side with blues singer Taildragger, he has become a leading blues attraction throughout the United States, Europe, and beyond. He’s been featured in major media outlets, world-wide. He will soon travel to Japan (April 9th to May 9th).

As said above, Johnny Burgin appears on numerous CDs with artists such as Billy Boy Arnold, Jimmy Burns, Tail Dragger, Little Arthur Duncan, and many more. I counted over 20 recordings to date, either as a side man or under his own name.

After 28 years in Chicago he relocated to California, where he now lives (currently in Petaluma).       

Rockin’ Johnny always surrounds himself with awesome musicians like harmonica players Martin Lang, Dave Waldman, Scott Dirks, Paul DeLay, Greg Izor, Aki Kumar and others; as well as players like Billy Flynn, Kid Andersen Eddie Taylor Jr., Christian Dozzler, Bob Welsh, June Core, Rick Kreher, Eddie Shaw, Kenny Smith, among so many others. Quique now belongs to this stellar list of collaborators.

Recently Rockin’ Johnny recorded a highly acclaimed recording Neoprene Fedora (West Tone Records, 2017) which brought an exciting mix of zydeco, surf music, and his beloved Chicago Blues. Johnny Burgin is a relentless songwriter and performer. He is one of the hardest working blues men I know, and quite a world-traveler. He is the real deal, to borrow the term from John Primer.

Dos Hombres Wanted: Review

This well-mixed and enjoyable CD was recorded in Austin, TX, with the exception of 3 songs which were recorded in Toledo Spain (“The Jinx”, “Otro Hombre”, and “Don’t Blame Shorty”). Eight tracks were written and sung by Rockin’ Johnny.

All songs have an undeniable traditional feel: slow swings, a Mojo beat, a Tramp feel, some mid-tempo Chicago shuffles, a catchy 1950s slow boogaloo (“Ain’t No High Roller”) reminiscent of Bo Diddley’s “Evergreen”, and a slow funk (“Livin’ Day to Day”).

In Dos Hombres Wanted, Quique shows a remarkably mature approach to his music. His vocal deliveries on six songs are heartfelt, and his harmonica solos are creative and well-crafted. He has a wonderful harp tone. To put it simply, Quique is a pleasure to listen to.

On the first song of the album, “Your Charm Won’t Help You,” he uses a Billy Branch-esque octave pedal admirably well. He also sings one song in Spanish: “Otro Hombre” (in the Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man” vein).  

Rockin’ Johnny is a deceptively simple guitar player. There are no unnecessary notes to his wonderful blues repertoire. He is on the money. His approach is pure vintage Chicago Blues, yet he has found his unique style. His vocals are stronger than ever, with great warmth and delivery.

Sidemen on this CD shine as well. Of note is a great piano solo from Christian Dozzler on “Livin’ Day to Day” (track 9). Check also his accordion’s solo on “Step It Up Bro”. Greg Izor makes a wonderful acoustic harp cameo on “Are You Ever” (track 13), a hard-driving and intoxicating boogie woogie.

Conclusion 

Dos Hombres Wanted is a fun recording. You can feel that both protagonists enjoy themselves. Their musical approaches are mature, fresh and they deliver great solos. It kept me fully absorbed.

A reflective and thoughtful CD, Rockin’ Johnny and Quique Gómez take their time to express what lays in their soul. It is all wonderfully done.

Y por favor que tengamos mas grabaciones de los dos hombres!

5 STARS  * * * * *

Rockinjohnnyburgin.com

Quiquegomez.com

 VizzTone Label Group:

www.vizztone.com

About the Author: Pierre Lacocque is the band leader/harmonica player/songwriter for Delmark Records’ artists Mississippi Heat. He was inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame in 2017.

For info: www.mississippiheat.net

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