Pete Mitchell,
Cutting the Mustard
(self-produced, 2006)

"Cutting the mustard" was an expression I grew up with. If you can't cut it, you are pretty far gone, croaking, as weak as you can get without cashing in your chips.

Pete Mitchell, with a unique voice and a swinging guitar, otherwise known as The Stratmaster, is certainly still cutting the mustard. He's got a beautiful guitar presence and the music -- though a little dated, like most blues -- is really for grooving. I never typed to a groove before. Da da da da dah!

Can't sit still to these easy lyrics, smooth voice and sulfurized guitar licks. "Free Man" and "I'm Gonna Get You" are excellent rocking blues songs. Lyrics in "I'm Gonna Get You" are a little crazy in a creepy/erotic way. But the music, the music is to die for. Ditto for "Bee My Honey." A little bit of macho lyrics going on here, but the beat of the song is so much fun, you can almost ignore it.

"Outside Looking In" is a great reminiscing song about finding a guitar and being in a band. This song mentions Elvis and Lennon as influences, and I'd say if Lennon ever sang electric country blues he'd have had a blast singing with Mitchell.

"Touche" brings us closer to Springsteen in sound, but the lyrics are simpler and sharper. I tried not to like this CD because he's hard on women: "Instead of talking nice to me / You just scream and shout / You've got this kind of complex / That you're highly strung / Listen to those same old lies / rolling off your tongue."

But I still can't take a thing away from the music. "Rock 'n' Roll" brings it to the max. Play, boy, play.

by Virginia MacIsaac
18 November 2006

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