Johnny Moeller, BlooGaLoo!

Posted on June 12, 2010 by

Artist: Johnny Moeller
Title: BlooGaLoo!
Label: Severn Records 0049
Released: April 2010
Genre: Blues

Johnny Moeller was billed as the next guitar phenom by club owner, Clifford Antone. Fifteen years later, with a history of live dates with Gary Primich, Darrel Nulisch, Doyle Bramhall II, LouAnn Barton, Guy Forsyth and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Moeller has the credits but I wouldn’t say he’s a household name. His latest CD, Bloo Ga Loo! is his third solo album and it exhibits a very credible blues based effort.

What shines through most of all is the tasteful phrasing Moeller incorporates on his licks. It is evident that it is based in Texas blues, very prominent in the shuffles, but I wouldn’t pigeon-hole his style there. The stand out tracks, “Shufflin’ Around, “Theme From the One-Armed Swordsman” and the title track, are coincidentally all instrumentals. Johnny doesn’t claim to be a great blues singer and is best letting his guitar do the talking. He has enlisted a couple of guest vocals to boost the album, including Shawn Pittman, Kim Wilson and LouAnn Barton.

Pittman, like Moeller is better off with this mouth shut and his amp turned up, Kim Wilson professionally strolls through the numbers like he does on a T-Birds album. Barton has always seemed a little on the edge which isn’t always as professional, but it makes it a helluva lot more interesting. Moeller duet with her on “I’m Stuck On You”is the vocal highlight of the album until somebody decided to had a ton of reverb to Bartons closing lines? What the Hell was that?

And whose decision was it to add baby talk to Earl King’s classic, “Trick Bag.” That is unforgivable. And speaking of Mr. King, Barton sings on “Everybody’s Got To Cry Sometime,” a song King did in his early days under the name of Handsome Earl. If it’s on purpose or not in respect to early Earl King recordings, Moeller’s solo is slightly off-key in a couple of spots.

This patchwork of blues is held together by a strong rhythm section of bassist Steve Gomes and the anchor, drummer Rob Stupka. Matt Farrell’s keys are a good compliment, he too shows the ability to work within various blues styles. I like the band and it shows that the guest vocas aren’t necessary. I’d happily welcome an all-instrumental album by Moeller and his men.

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