David Gogo is an extremely hard working Canadian bluesman with a laundry list of accolades for his expert musical craft. His latest album, “Soul Bender”, is an satisfying mix of electric blues, rock, and soul styles set to a combination of originals and some interesting cover choices.
The first track, “Please Find My Baby,” originally by Elmore James is deftly reminiscent of ZZ Top’s cover of James’ “Dust My Broom” — with a twist. The slide guitar burns a hole through the speakers, and the addition of Steve Marriner’s skilled piano and harmonica adds a layer of depth. One noteworthy track can be found in “The Way You Make Me Feel”. Those skeptical of seeing a Michael Jackson cover on a blues album will be pleasantly surprised to find some fantastic B.B. King style licks, a B3 backing, horn section and shuffle beat. It’s certainly a challenge for an artist to “own” a song made famous by the king of pop, but David accomplishes it in fine form. Gogo’s version of “I Found A Love” has a strong southern rock & soul sound, with an echoing guitar and soul-dripping vocals.
Overall, Gogo’s album is solid. Whether he set out to display is musically diverse skill or not, he accomplished it. There’s more than enough diversity in Soul Bender to please most anybody, and the album, for the most part, is artfully tied together through a Stax-style soul base.