Decade

FORREST MCDONALD
A DECADE OF BLUES
Label: World Talent Records

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VIDEO 2

“It's a shame, but I have to admit that up to now I hadn’t heard of Forrest McDonald. However, according to his discography, "A Decade of Blues" which covers the period from 1997 till last year, is already his 10th CD! He has been active as a musician since 1964 when he started playing with his first band “The Oxbow Incidents”. In 1969 he changed over to the “Boston Rock Symphony” with Blues frontman James Montgomery, followed by a series of bands such as “Silver, Platinum & Gold”, “The Spies” and the “3 D Bluesband”, before founding “The Forrest McDonald Band” in 2004.

This CD is a compilation drawn from several albums from the last 10 years and features a number of tracks sung by the fantastic Andrew Black who did the vocals on "Colorblind". Also Roy Gaines, Raymond Victor, Forrest’s wife Kaylon McDonald, all strong voices, account for a few numbers. And, naturally most important, there is Forrest's guitar work, a guitarist at home in every style. On this long CD with 18 songs, we get to hear a wide palette of blues. From Chicago blues to Southern rock, from Texan boogies to other things with Muscle Shoals overtones. This last is somehow normal as Forrest lived for a while in Muscle Shoals, recording there for Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll”, a song that ended up on the CD "Stranger in Town".

Highlights from this CD are "Blues in the Basement", with, besides Forrest's wonderful guitar work, showcases Andrew Black's magisterial voice (which also shines on "River of Tears"). “I Feel So Bad”, “Mean Old World” and “Red Sunglasses” are further standouts on this more than extraordinary blues record covering ten years of this undervalued artist.

If you didn't know him either, then dear blues lovers you'd better do something about it urgently, for he's highly recommendable!” (RON)

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Latest Review

Living Blues Issue #149 Volume 40 #1

Forrest McDonald

A Decade of Blues


World Talent Records


Forrest McDonald may be best known to the wider world as the man who played the instantly recognizable guitar solo in Bob Seger’s classic Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll. He has some serious rock chops, having traded licks with Robert Planet and Jeff Beck and toured with Alice Cooper and Edgar Winter. But McDonald’s first love was blues, and he has built up strong root credentials, too. McDonald has played with Jimmy Reed Jr. and Bonnie Bramlett. He has released over ten blues albums under his own name, creating a discography that more than proves McDonald is no blues lightweight.

With A Decade of Blues, a compilation album is finally available that showcases the best work of this prodigious and multitalented artist between 1997 and 2007.

Not surprisingly (from a man who impressed Bob Seger and has jammed with both Johnny Winter and Eddie Van Halen), one of the most outstanding features of the disc is its diversity. The sheer number of styles and genres McDonald has mastered is almost disconcerting. The album opens with Hard to Love a hard-biting and swaggering blues tune that clearly owes much to McDonald’s days as a rock ‘n’ roll guitar virtuoso. From there, it moves onto a cover of Jimmy Witherspoon’s Times Getting Tougher Than Tough, where McDonald creates a full, rich R&B session sound. This is followed by Work Work a classic piano boogie-woogie—as it might have sounded as produced by Sun Records’ Sam Phillips (and supplemented by a swank saxophone and fierce guitar work). And it doesn’t stop there. McDonald also pulls of heart-rending R&B ballads (River of Tears), soul/funk anthems a la the Bar-Kays (Going Back to Memphis), and just about everything in between.

Much of the credit for the musical success of the disc belongs to an incredibly solid and versatile line of musicians in McDonald’s band, including keyboardist and sometime vocalist Raymond Victor (who has been playing with McDonald for more than 30 years), vocalist and rhythm guitarist Andrew Black, Diane Dutra on bass, and percussionist Chuck CapDeville. McDonald’s wife, Kaylon, an accomplished musician in her own right, adds gorgeous full alto vocals to two tracks.

Few albums, even compilation albums, in recent years have included so many truly amazing tracks representing so many different styles of blues and R&B. To borrow a phrase from the world of McDonald’s non-blues music, Decade of Blues rocks.

~ Jon Black