victory motelThat this would be very good was a no-brainer. Van Campbell from Black Diamond Heavies and Freddy J IV from Radio Moscow in the same band? Yes, please.

This is raw blues with a dash of soul which is no surprise considering the principals’ main bands.. As you might expect, the band format (it’s not quite a duo - there is a bass player, probably added in post-production) strips it back to basics.

The mega-talented Parker Griggs (Radio Moscow) adds some guitars on a couple of tracks but this is mostly Freddy J IV’s raunchy guitar and vocalising and Van Campbell’s rock-solid drumming and backing vocals. Blues harp and Hammond organ fill out the sound.

“Victory Motel Sessions” was conceived in Los Angeles when Campbell and Fredd J’s touring schedules landed them in the same place at the same time. If it was a hasty recording, you can’t tell, and spontaneity rarely goes astray anyway.

“Keep It Out Of Sight” (Wilko Johnson) and “I Can Only Give You Everything” (Them) are covers but the rest is all Campbell-J co-writes. The Wilko song breaks into an amphetamine rush as it goes on and “I Can Only…” is rendered in heavy fashion with Griggs laying down the flashy leads towards the end.

You could jump in just about anywhere and soak yourself in the blues. King Mud never strays far from the wellspring. Freddy J’s raunchy guitar and voce are stand-outs, especially on the dirty “War Dancers” and the swampy “Blood River”. Campbell’s feels drive the songs nicely and he’s not one to break into showboating in all that extra space.

The songs are keepers. “Take a Look” recalls Humble Pie’s “40 Days In The Hole” without the soul sister backing and could score radio air-time in an enlightened market. “Rat Time” is Campbell kicking ‘em out before Freddy J kicks in with some crunching riff-work.

No forms of traditional music (i.e the blues) were harmed in the making of this and no reputations damaged. Go here without fear it will be worth your while.


Buy it at Alive Naturalsound