Blue Deal – Holy Ground
Blue Deal – Holy Ground
Self-Release – 2022
11 tracks; 41 minutes
Blue Deal is a four piece blues-rock band from Southern Germany and this is their debut release. There is a thirty year difference between the youngest and oldest band members, Joe Fischer on lead vocals, keys and cigar box guitar, Tom Rollbüller on guitar, N. Grille Roth on bass and Jürgen Schneckenburger on drums; backing vocals come from Rahel Rudiger on four songs and Lena Knobloch on one. The material is all original, Joe supplying the lyrics, apart from one track which is sung by Lea Rollbühler who presumably wrote the song. The band has already toured in Scotland and is clearly entirely at home singing in English; Joe sings without discernible accent and sounds quite similar to Paul Rodgers of Free/Bad Company who is quoted as giving the band positive encouragement.
The album opens with a thumping slice of blues-rock, very much in the style of Free, based round a great riff from Tom, as Joe encourages us all to be content with our lot, to “Love What You Have”. Add in Joe’s gritty vocals and a fine central solo from Tom and you have a winner. The title track “Holy Ground” is a rock ballad with organ and lilting guitar fills, making a nice contrast with the swagger of the opener. There is a short (less than a minute) acoustic guitar instrumental with a pretentious, perhaps ironic, title, “Sonata In E-Major 7” before “Standing On The Corner” takes us back to the harder rocking style with a solid shuffle overlaid with guitar riffs and organ stabs. The sweeter side of the band comes through on “Miss You”, a gentle tune with some funky bass lines over which Joe sings of his lost love. “Go” has strong guitar work and lyrics that hint at ecological issues as the planet appears to be glad that humans are looking for another world: “You took everything I had. In my dreams I see you leaving, now let the healing begin”. A strong song with important things to say. “Memory Street” races along with swirling keys and a solid guitar riff, Joe even referencing Paul Rodgers’ interjections on Free’s mega-hit “All Right Now”.
The song not written by Joe is “Witch”. Lea does have an accent but delivers the song pretty well over chugging guitar, Joe joining her on the chorus. Joe straps on his cigar-box for a couple of songs with socially conscious lyrics: “Suicide Boogie” bemoans how we can all be self-destructive at times played over a toe-tapping riff; “Sewing Machine” is all about cheap clothes made in sweatshops in Bangladesh, the cigar-box giving the tune a dirty sound. Slide is also featured on the final cut, “Three Dollars”, giving a raw sound that is further enhanced by some uncredited and equally tough harmonica.
Overall an enjoyable album with plenty of good guitar hooks. Not at all a traditional blues album but those with a taste for the rockier end of the spectrum will find things to enjoy here. Equally, the fact that some songs go beyond the usual relationship themes give the album added value, in this reviewer’s opinion.
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