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Faded But Not Gone

Big Dave McLean

Blue Hen Records 2015

Review by David Bowling

 

I’ll wager it is fairly safe to say that not many blues artists, particularly those that play a form of the Delta blues, call Yorktown, Saskatchewan their home, but so it is with Big Dave McLean.

McLean has been immersed in the blues since the late 1960s and has released six albums during the past three decades. He has now returned with his seventh studio effort titled Faded But Not Gone.

He may be a Canadian blues artist but his heart is located in the Southern United States. The six original compositions and seven covers are firmly connected to a traditional blues sound. The only time he varies from this formula is to add some country elements to his music.

He has a road weary voice that fits his covers of Skip James’ “Devil Got My Woman,” and Tampa Red’s “Dead Cat On The Line.” Producer Steve Dawson brings his expertise on the banjo to the Tom Waits tune “Mr. Siegal,” which adds a country element to the mix.

Two strong original compositions revolve around family remembrances. “Shades Of Grace” is a tribute to his mother who used to sing “Amazing Grace” at home. “The Fallen” is in remembrance of his brothers passing.

Big Dave McLean has traveled a lot of miles and performed thousands of times. He has evolved into a mature and confident blues musician. Faded But Not Gone is the latest result of his life’s journey.

Rating: ***

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