Dave Weld & The Imperial Flames: Slip Into A Dream
(2015/Delmark) 13 tracks.
Dave Weld's second Delmark CD.. Dave Weld - gtr/voc, Monica Myhre - voc, Harry Yaseen - pno, Graham Guest - pno (5,6,7) / org (1,10), Dave Kaye - bass, Greg McDaniel - bass (5), Jeff Taylor - drum/voc (lead on 10).
Special guests: Bobby Rush - hca (3,12), Greg Guy - gtr (11), Sax Gordon - saxes (7,8,10).
Article properties: Dave Weld & The Imperial Flames: Slip Into A Dream
SURPRISE! THE GOLD STANDARD IS SET FOR FIERY MODERN-DAY CHICAGO BLUES WITH THE RELEASE OF SLIP INTO A DREAM.
Certainly needing reinvigoration, the genre gets red-hot shots of adrenaline when guitarist Dave Weld performs in a recording studio. He and his Imperial Flames purposefully torch their second Delmark album, the follow-up to 2010's BURNIN' LOVE (Delmark 806). After all, Chicago blues is Weld's life-blood, his very existence hanging on a deep infatuation with Hound Dog Taylor, J. B. Hutto and other hold-nothing-back pyrotechnists in the hallowed canon. Immersed within West Side club action since the 1970s, Weld today makes the rounds as a beacon of passion and stability in a genre largely reduced to tired formu-las.
Conveying a musical tension usually set at the boiling point, Weld makes sure SLIP INTO A DREAM does the job it sets out to do, provide his faithful fans and new con-verts with superior entertainment through terrific jolts of newly forged music that pos-sess a ragged-edge spontaneity. Weld, a communicator, said of the session, "Our concept was to go through the process, do the really hard work correctly and honestly, to bring the audience our best effort, our best ideas, our best expression of emotion, in relation to what we see as commonality in human nature. And we just wanted to go in the studio and play our ass off!" Total success. Weld and singer Monica Myhre (Dave's loving partner) and the other band members—pianist Harry Yaseen, bassist Dave Kaye, drummer Jeff Taylor—attain wild, rapturous heights in twelve original songs and one cover, Hutto's 20% Alcohol, while staying on the ebullient emotional arc of the music they love.
They're bound to rules governing blues expression but the knot is not restric-tively tight. They show confidence in their ability to bring fresh, slashing immediacy to the material. The band never lacks for vivid presence. Myhre merits a place in the top-tier of contemporary blues sing-ers for her solid contributions, whether in a volatile rough-housing mode or evidenc-ing an even-keeled temperament (nota-bly on Sweet Love and Walk on Down). Following the way of his heart, Weld converges self-possession with techni-cal artfulness in guitar fulminations which manifest his many years gaining intima-cy with the blues—he's plied this trade over thousands and thousands of nights and occasional days. And this dexterity extends to the nitty-gritty and nuances needed for successful blues singing and songwriting. The man does it all.
A native of Lake Forest, a picturesque city north of Chicago along Lake Michi-gan, Weld studied history and journalism at New Mexico State University before returning home for the blues life. He initially earned his keep playing with ex-Hound Dog Taylor sidemen Brewer Phillips and Ted Harvey at Sweet Peas, then joining up with several former bandmates of Howlin' Wolf in the house band at the 1815 Club. Weld's affinity for the blues was apparent to those wary, seasoned veterans. An important sup-porter was Hutto, a highly regarded slide guitarist with extensive credits, including two albums cut for Delmark, HAWK SQUAT (Delmark 617) and SLIDEWINDER (Delmark 636). Weld noted, "J. B. was the most authentic blues guy I knew (who was) closest to real blues from the South being played on electric guitar. His vocals hold true today, and his words are intense and personal. J. B. gave me band-leading advice, songwriting ad-vice, and life advice."
Weld's comfort with urban blues was further illustrated when he took on rhythm guitar duties in the fast company of his slide guitar-playing friend Lir Ed Williams in the raw-and-rowdy band they called the Blues Imperials. The acclaimed 1986 Alligator album ROUGHHOUSIN' captured their incandescent spirit. Weld was with the Blues Imperials for about ten years before branching off in the late-1980s to lead his own outfit. The Imperial Flames have had several incar-nations over the years. Past members include luminaries like Lil' Ed, saxophonist Abb Locke, drummers Ted Harvey and Vernon Rodgers, bassists Herman Apple-white and Mike Scharf, and pianists Leo Davis and Donny Nichilo. Weld is espe-cially appreciative of two guys who've long stuck by him: Bernard Reed, a bass player and Jeff Taylor, a drummer (both have also worked with leading blues and r&b acts in the Windy City). To date, the Imperial Flames have performed in 26 states, 11 countries, and at about three dozen festivals, among them the Montreal Jazz Festival and, naturally, the Chicago Blues Festival. With SLIP INTO A DREAM, Weld and the Imperial Flames, along with guests Bobby Rush on harmonica, Gordon Beadle on scalding saxophone, AND Greg Guy on guitar, come at the listener with happy vengeance. They square blast furnace fun with a collective sense of conviction. "Ev-ery song comes out of a groove we love," said Weld. "We fulfill the songs' potential." --Frank-John Hadley, DownBeat