Corey Dennison Band ‘Corey Dennison Band’ CD/DIG (Delmark) 4/5

corey-dennison-bandTennessee born bluesman Corey Dennison was born and raised in Chatanooga, Tennessee and as a child was exposed to the folk-blues guitar playing of his uncle, but his musical influences are very much in the 1960s Chicago electric blues tradition and this debut for premier Windy City label Delmark is testimony to the sounds he has soaked up in his adopted home.
Interestingly, Dennison’s interest in funk guitar riffs comes across on the JBs sounding, ‘Aw, snap’, which also features a mini rap by the leader. However, the feel is varied with the soul-blues of Bobby Bland merging on the excellent, ‘City lights’, and this approach suits Dennison’s naturally throaty delivery. As a teenager, Corey Dennison listened to a good deal of soul music that ranged from Curtis Mayfield through to the rootsy sounds of Bloodstone and more contemporary modern soul of the Controllers. Yet, he still found time to take in Junior Wells and regards his voice as equally soulful as the aforementioned. Close musical collaborator and band guitarist and organist Gerry Hundt is similarly eclectic in taste and performs elsewhere as a leader on harp, mandolin and bass and drums. For a rocking bassline, ‘Tugboat blues’ leaves no doubt that this band is the real deal and they are a regular live performance band in Chicago. This all original set places emphasis on the uptempo, but is adept on the slower material, with the melodic mid-tempo number, ‘The deacon’ an album highlight. Worth checking out if Chicago blues is your bag.

Tim Stenhouse