In Your Face
Dave Mathis has long been one of the premier harmonica players in the Portland blues scene. This new release by Mathis may be referred to as his debut recording, but it is filled with highlights from his career over the past twenty years, really only a drop in the pond for as long as he has been blowing that tin biscuit around these parts. And that career has seen him perform with some of the very best talent around.
The disc starts out with a trio of numbers with Mathis playing alongside Kelly Joe Phelps; two from past Phelps’ recordings and a third previously unreleased take on “Poor Old Mattie” from a 1993 session. These are followed by a handful of selections from Adam Scramstad’s solo release Down The Muddy Creek; a jazzy piece from Kacy Colleen; a rocking blues tune from Seattle’s Bobby Holland and the Breadline; and a pair of songs with Mathis working with Michael Osborn & the Drivers, including a superb cover of The Fabulous Thunderbirds’ “Why Get Up.” In between are a couple entries from his outstanding pairing with guitarist Steve Cameron as The Blues Police with special note to their reading of “St. James Infirmary” which is perhaps one of the finest renditions of this song on disc by anybody. There are also five cuts of live performances of Mathis working with K.G. Jackson and Papa Salty recorded at Vancouver’s The Longhorn Bar & Grill which make this collection indispensable.
Dave Mathis is a true Portland blues icon. He always blows a breath of fresh air to any track he is a part of. There may be portions of his career missing from this album, but regardless, Mathis at any period of his lengthy time amongst the blues heavyweights in the Northwest is worth hearing over and over again. This reflection is a tasty bite of what the master has to offer.
Total Time: 70:44
Screaming & Hollering / Poor Old Mattie / Piece By Piece / Louisiana Blues / Hot Rod Tracy / St James Infirmary / The Sprawl / Brother Can You Spare A Dime / Same Thing / Blues Don’t Bother Me / Woke Up Evil / One Of These Days / Ol’ Main Line / Cold Grave / Bright Lights, Big City / Why Get Up