Online since August 2002

Belgrade's time warp

From the Autumn 2004 issue.

By Point Blank Blues Band

Self-released: 2004

To hear learn more about this release, Turbula recommends visiting the band's web site.

It's as if someone had discovered a stack of forgotten tapes deep in the bowels of some recording studio in London, Memphis or Muscle Shoals. Some tapes made by members of Humble Pie, Deep Purple, Savoy Brown, Wishbone Ash, the Allman Brothers, Atlanta Rhythm Section and Cream. Deep, swirling blues with thickly distorted guitars heavy on the fuzz pedal, extended jams, a delta backbeat with a dash of rock 'n' roll.

The music on "7th" is all that and more – laid down atop some of the most purely constructed rock songs yet written.

The band? Inspired by all the above, we have no doubt, as well as by the earlier generations of African-American blues artists who inspired them.

But the reality is that this incredible album of living, breathing heavy blues comes from Belgrade, Serbia, courtesy of the Point Blank Blues Band.

More so than anything put out of late by such 1960s and '70s stalwarts as Robin Trower, Kim Simmonds or Leslie West, this album has the feeling of still moving forward. Point Blank Blues Band isn't looking back at past success – for them, this music is the here and now.

And so this is no tribute; it is the heavy blues in a new millennium – power blues with new ideas and a fresh energy that creates the kind of excitement a new Steve Marriott album would have 30 years ago.

From the boogie shuffle (reminiscent of early ARS) of "Cripple Blues" to the heaviest of "21st Century Blues," the sardonic "Seven Blues" to the Texas sounds of "Cripple Blues," this Balkan album is about the purest American rock 'n' roll (and, in the case of "Dedicated," country-western) as you can find.

The opening narrative track, talking about the history of the blues, takes a bit of warming up to, but after that, there are a dozen songs that will burrow into your head and never come out.

It's not out yet, though. Lead singer and guitarist Dr. sent Turbula an advance studio mix after we reviewed their last outing, "Eight Ball Blues." But visit their site, and you can find out when they land a label and when "7th" will be released.

Review by Jim Trageser. Jim is a writer and editor living in Escondido, Calif., and was a contributor to the "Grove Press Guide to Blues on CD" (1993) and "The Routledge Encyclopedia of the Blues" (2005).

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