West Coast vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter Robert Lucas forged a path for himself in the blues world after the release of his much-hailed 1990 self-produced debut cassette, Across the River. Based in Long Beach, CA, as a solo artist Lucas recorded for the Audioquest label out of San Clemente. He was also a member of the legendary boogie blues band Canned Heat, singing and playing bottleneck guitar and harmonica with the group off and on starting in 1994. Lucas paid homage to traditional blues but also carefully crafted his own singing and slide guitar style. These talents are on ample display on his Audioquest albums, including Luke and the Locomotives, Usin' Man Blues, Built for Comfort, Layaway, and Completely Blue, all released during the '90s, as well as latter-day Canned Heat albums on the Ruf and Fuel 2000 labels.
As an oboe/guitar player involved in electro popular music, it's no surprise Iva Davies took to Roxy Music, especially on "Street Café" and the mega-hit "Hey Little Girl," which duly landed in no less than 13 European Top Ten singles charts, going all the way in Switzerland. An album of atmospheres, "Great Southern Land" evokes images of Australia's arid interior, while "Trojan Blue" conjures up medieval Italy or France. "Mysterious Thing" continues Primitive Man's mood, and produces what may be the best line in ambient white funk recorded! Running orders for the album fluctuate; Australian editions swapped "Love in Motion" for the rockier "Break These Chains" (vice versa in the U.K.). Finishing up is an excellent reworking of "Goodnight Mr. Mathews," which had earlier appeared on the Steve Nye single-only version of "Love in Motion" (itself re-recorded less successfully). Primitive Man (aka Love in Motion in the U.K.) is still one his finest recordings.
Ray Mantilla's Space Station is his regular group and works mostly in Europe. Although tied to the bebop tradition, Mantilla's soloists are actually much more modern, closer to post-bop than to hard bop. Because the septet works together often, they have developed their own fresh material which consists mostly of originals by Mantilla and pianist Eddy Martinez. The only standard on the date is a ballad version of "The Man I Love."
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