Family Style,
Live Style!
(Blue Flame, 1999)

Sometimes you slap in a CD and go ... oh man they are good. Live Style! by Italian band Family Style is one of those CDs, there is so much energy in the music that these blues are a joy to listen to. That the disc was recorded live just adds that extra little bit to the experience.

There may not be a lot of musicians on the CD, but they do create a wonderfully full sound. You have Marco Limido (guitar), Franco Limido (vocal and harmonica), Davide Bianchi (bass) and Pablo Leoni (drums and cajon). Honey Davis and G. Schinina also join in. Throughout the music I get a sense they are enjoying themselves on stage, and that is a part of what makes the overall sound so good.

The CD starts off with "Back to the Chicken Shack," a short instrumental that gets things going. Then comes "Rollin' Over New Orleans," which picks up the pace and tugs you onto the dance floor as the song goes along. "Livin', Lovin', Drinkin' " has a mellower sound in the music that slides into the lyrics' mood, if not their pace.

"Pub Crawl" is a strangely fun song -- naturally the song is about a night of heavy drinking. "Every Time You Smile" is a rollicking good piece that abounds in energy. This is followed by the laidback, long lines of "Prisoner of the Blues."

They return with another fast-paced, energetic song in "Mellow Down Easy," with the drums adding drive to the energy. The intensity remains in "Family Style," an instrumental in which the musicians pass the melody back and forth. And then they come back with another fast song, "Caledonia," and they maintain the pace for most of the song (almost 10 minutes worth).

"Big Boss Man" seems to have a pulse to it that hooks you from the start. You can hear the crowd a bit before they kick into "Blues Jam," which is a live session. They finish off with "Little Bluebird" -- it too is laidback and you can sense that the night is wrapping up.

Live Style is a slice of beautiful music, and is well worth the journey.

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]
Rambles: 30 March 2002

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