Mark Cook,
An Evening with the Blues
(self-produced, 2000)

An Evening with the Blues is chock-full of good music. Mark Cook has done very well with this CD.

The musicians do a great job, weaving their craft as well. They are Tom McFarland (vocals), DaRon Washington (backup vocals), Andy Engle (bass), Chuck Hill (drums), Don Zlaty (tenor sax, alto sax and organ), Randy Mitchell (trombone), Kenneth Fary (piano), Gary Turner, Larry Powell and Edward Zlaty (trumpets), Sally Russell (baritone sax), Dave Kyle (vocals and national steel guitar), Rob Steidel (keyboards), Davin Hunt (percussion), Brad Dart (drums), John Henderson (vocals) and Steve Rusin (harmonica). Mark Cook plays the guitar, bass, acoustic guitar, organ, strings and keyboards.

The CD starts off with the high-paced "All Your Lovin'," and the energy quickly pulls you into the song. Then the tempo slows down for "Nasty Old Feeling," in which the music wraps itself around you in a most wonderful way. "Bad Reputation" just seems to slide into a groove with the first notes and stays there for the rest of the song. This is followed by the instrumental "Let it Go," a simple and subdued piece that has a slight jazzy edge to it.

The pulsing beat that runs through verses of "We'll Search for Tomorrow" adds an upbeat feel to the song. "Faded Memory" is more laidback and provides a nice change of pace. The beat becomes more driven in "It's Too Late," and the music is guaranteed to get your foot tapping. "I'm Walkin' " is just a wonderful piece of the blues. It is one of the highlights of the CD. "No Concern" draws you in with its strength, very focused and very good. "Don't Come Knockin'" has more of a walking pace and closes with an instrumental stretch.

"It's Your Sweet Love" is a beautiful, slow love song, I can almost hear a couple slow dancing in the music. The CD ends with "Don't Let Me Hold You Back," a song of good-bye.

An Evening with the Blues is well worth the time it takes to listen. Any one of the songs on it would be worth it just on their own, for that matter. It is full of the blues done well. Take the time to listen to it some evening.

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]
Rambles: 8 December 2001