Nick Gravenites “ROGUE BLUES review in BLUES NEWS—The Newsletter of the Kentuckiana Society

Nick Gravenites “Rogue Blues” (M.C. Records) The illustrious career of Nick Gravenites began in the 1960’s with his friendship with Mike Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield and the creation of The Electric Flag with Barry Goldberg. He seemingly performed with or composed for most of the West Coast groups of that era, including writing “Buried Alive In The Blues” for Janis Joplin which he intended to record with her on the day she died. He continued his illustrious career for over 50 years. Now at 86 years old, arthritis prevents him from playing the guitar, but he still enjoys singing. Pete Sears produced the album and plays the piano and bass on all cuts. The album opens with Charlie Musselwhite providing the harmonica on the sole cover song on the album, Howlin’ Wolf’s “Poor Boy”. Charlie reappears later on “Blues Back Off Me” with Jimmy Vivino on guitar. Jimmy also plays guitar on “Blues Singers”, a commentary on the classic blues vocalists. “Left Hand Soulfeatures Lester Chambers on harmonica. “Blackberry Jam” has a bit of a New Orleans feel to it with Willard Dixon on clarinet and Keith Baltz on sousaphone. Vivino plays the mandolin and Pete Sears adds accordion with Nick singing that he got everything he “needed to keep me alive in a “Brown Paper Bag”. The album concludes with a guest appearance by Roy Blumenfeld on drums on “What Time Is It”, a coun-trified blues with Barry Sless on pedal steel as Nick laments his past and acknowledges that he has “lost my sweet dreams”. Nick’s voice might be slightly grizzled with age, but his blues are still strong and it is welcoming to hear from him once again. 

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