Nick Moss & The Flip Tops

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Nick Moss & The Flip Tops

Postby blueswriter » Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:13 am

Nick Moss And The Flip Tops
Play It 'Til Tomorrow
Blue Bella (2007) BB1008

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2 CDs, 29 tracks, 120 minutes. Highly recommended. If Nick Miss & The Flip Tops are just hitting stride now, which certainly seems to be the case, the future surely holds an awful lot for this road-tested band of Chicago Blues warriors. Aside from appearing in support or production roles on countless recordings by other artists, Nick Moss now tallies his sixth effort under his own banner; a two-disc set that smolders, smokes and blisters from top to bottom. The band here remains mostly unchanged from the last effort with the exception of Bob Carter who now handles the driving backbeats. The musical communication is more palpable this time around - and that's not lighthearted praise as Nick's last CD was done in a 'live' setting. Gerry Hundt, a jack-of-all-blues-trades, still delivers rhythm guitar, harmonica, bass and mandolin with Willie Oshawny remaining on keyboards and occasional bass. As to be expected, Nick and the boys mine the differing veins of Windy City blues tackling three covers; Woman Don't Lie, Bad Avenue and Rising Wind, but it's the gritty originals where The Flip Tops display a rich and deep patina. Mistakes From The Past, Lyin' For Profit, Tend To Your Business, Peculiar Feeling and Too Many Miles are solid, self-penned gems from a mature songwriter while a pair of instrumentals, The Rump Bump and Grease Fire have enough friction to ignite. Nick's guitar playing nods to mentors Jimmy Dawkins and Jimmy Rogers with more than a few tips of the hat to Magic Slim but Moss is no slavish six-string imitator. You can marvel at his harp playing, too, which is as tough as a blast of wind off Lake Michigan during the cold winter months. Guests on the first disc include Eddie Taylor Jr. on guitar with Nick's wife, Kate, taking guitar or bass duties over a few cuts. Part two of the program marks what Nick often refers to as 'the Smithsonian set' during performances where the band pays tribute to the rough-and-tumble sounds of the 1940s and '50s. Aside from an absolutely beautiful version of I Shall Not Be Moved, the second disc is packed with all original material and just as stunning as the first. Another Life Is Gone sounds like an unissued diamond found in the Chess vaults while It's Written In The Bible, Married Woman Blues and Wild Imagination could easily have been found in a crumpled cardboard box half-filled with brittle 78s on Maxwell Street fifty years in the past. Got My Mail Today finds Nick and Barrelhouse Chuck side-by-side for a piano/guitar duet not unlike what Tampa Red and Big Maceo laid down six decades ago. The alternate take of It's Written In The Bible pairs Moss' guitar and vocal with Gerry's harmonica for an acoustic trip that blossomed in the Delta and landed on the doorstep of the tenement building where Muddy Waters lived. For those familiar with Nick Moss & The Flip Tops, this two-disc set is loaded with the exceptional craftsmanship you've come to know. For those who have yet to experience what Nick and the band can do, you'll come away with a newfound respect for one of the finest blues bands to ever set foot outside of Chicago. There's no denying that Play It 'Til Tomorrow is a modern-day gem!

Blue Bella Records

© 2008 by Craig Ruskey
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