Blues In Britain Vol. 1  Issue No. 7

John O'Leary & Pointblank Blues Blues Band
As Blue As I Can Be

ITMM CD 4093

"…….Here we have John O’Leary, veteran harp player with Savoy Brown, The John Dummer Band and The Brunning/Hall Sunflower Band teaming up with a group of accomplished musicians from Belgrade.  They consist of  Dr. Project on guitar, Darko Grujic on keyboards, Zoran Milenkovic on bass and Jovan Pejcinovic on drums.  If you don’t know, there is a healthy interest in blues and rock in Eastern Europe with a strong following in Poland and Hungary as well as in the former Yugoslavia.

So how does this ensemble sound? First class is the answer! One great bonus is that eight of the ten tracks on the CD are self-penned, six with John  O’Leary in part and two with Dr. Project with only two traditional blues standards.  The album kicks off with “Gimme a Reason” with fine harmonica playing from the start from John followed by the mellifluous “Ain’t Gonna Call” played with gusto. On “Nineteen Years Old”, we have a classic track which owes an obvious debt to Muddy Waters which is well sung with fine instrumental work. “Roadhouse Man” is a good ensemble number while “Downtown Walk” is a harmonica led instrumental with a fine keyboard solo and is fast and furious and very impressive.  “Say What You Mean” features Ljiljana saljil on vocals, a veritable Maggie Bell with standout harp by John.  “On Drinking Again” there is a great guitar intro from Dr. Project and an atmospheric vocal from John. “Bluestrain” kicks off with great piano from Darko Grujic followed by standout guitar and harp.  On “Freedom Road” there is a great harp intro to a song about political struggle which fits in well as a blues.  The final cut “Divin’ Duck”, this is a great rendition of this standard with staccato drumming and lyrical harp. All in all a fine effort and well worth tracking down. Bill Smith, Blues In Britain    Rating 8/10