Kid Ramos West Coast House Party (Evidence)
West Coast House Party (Evidence)
Reviewed by Harvey Pekar, Fri., Nov. 10, 2000
West Coast House Party (Evidence)The strict 12-bar blues genre has evolved about as far as it's going to go for the foreseeable future. Influential as the form has been, there's just so much that can be done with it. The last important blues innovators, such as Magic Sam, came to the fore in the Sixties, and even Sam had non-12-bar blues in his repertoire. Creative musicians are using a variety of song forms these days, and while there's nothing more wrong with young artists preserving and continuing to play the blues than there is with symphony orchestras performing classical music of the 18th and 19th centuries, don't expect them to do anything innovative. Los Angeles-based guitarist Kid Ramos certainly has produced some enjoyable music on this disc, but it's derivative of the West Coast jump blues scene of the Forties. Tempos are often brisk, and shuffle beats are employed; Charlie Christian and T-Bone Walker have influenced the guitar solos. The personnel varies on the selections here, although pianist Fred Kaplan, bassist Larry Taylor, drummer Stephen Hodges, and saxmen Steve Marsh, Jonny Viau, and Jeff Turmes appear on almost every track. A bunch of guests also perform, including vocalist/harp man Kim Wilson and guitarists Gatemouth Brown, Duke Robillard, Rick Holmstrom, and Junior Watson. There's also a bunch of vocalists, including Ramos' old employer James Harman. Everyone seems to be having a good time, playing and singing enthusiastically, and they're technically competent artists, but only the 76-year-old Brown is an original stylist.