Rick Estrin may be from California, but this album is filled with an incredible fusion of Chicago Blues meets Texas Blues with a twist of Swing! Born and raised in California, and having spent time in Chicago, Estrin has been around. He has played with Eddie Taylor, Johnny Littlejohn, Sam Lay, and he even sat in with Muddy Waters at 20 years old. He and his Nightcats are consummate showmen and players, with skills honed over hundreds of shows. In 2010 they received four Blues Music Awards nominations, and this year Rick Estrin received the Blues Music Awards nomination for Best Blues Harmonica.
One Wrong Turn from Alligator Records is the second album from Rick Estrin and the Nightcats. (Twisted was issued in 2009.) This album is high energy, balls-to-the-wall fun. The band is Rick Estrin – Harmonica/Vocals; Chris “Kid” Anderson – Guitars, Keys, Bass, backing vocals; Lorenzo Farrell – Organ, Acoustic & Fender Bass, Piano and J. Hansen – Drums, Percussion, Vocals on “You Ain’t The Boss of Me.” Aside from the tight, focused playing, the album maintains a sense of humor and playfulness throughout. Now even though these guys aren’t from Texas, they sure play some righteous Texas Blues and Swing on “Calling All Fools”, “Zonin’” (with great backing horn section), “Broke and Lonesome”, and “You Ain’t The Boss Of Me”. Then there is the Chicago Blues on “One Wrong Turn”, and a sparse but awesome harmonica showcase, “Old News.” The closer is “The Legend Of Taco Cobbler”, which sounds like the The Ventures and Dick Dale partied together and then recorded this before they hit the local DQ; it’s a great piece of work. The entire album has a reverent but playful vibe, similar to what Joe Jackson did with his Jumpin’ Jive album.
The love and effort that went into writing and playing this material is evident throughout. Sound quality is excellent, as is the mix down, with nothing extra or out of place. Great arrangements, played well, with a great feel. Bravo gentlemen – well done!