The Mercy Brothers,
Strange Adventure
(CoraZong, 2006)

Have mercy! At least in this case. A sticker on the CD calls this hillbilly blues, which is as good a name as any. You might call it country blues, but folk rather than the Delta slide/Robert Johnson type.

What makes it special is Barrence Whitfield, the vocalist of the two "brothers." Whitfield is one of the most underrated R&B singers ever, with a powerful voice he uses to front his still existing group the Savages.

Here Whitfield doesn't come on too strong for this part-acoustic, part-electric music. He doesn't have to shout: his voice has depth and authority to elevate these tracks.

Michael Dinallo, the other Mercy Brother, not only has a feel for folk picking, but his own compositions fit in seamlessly with classics like "Broke Down Engine" and "Another Man Done Gone."

Electric guitar, acoustic bass, drums, dobro and harmonica are also present on most of the cuts. Electric guitarist Vidar Busk adds a rockabilly/surf sound, which fits in surprisingly well.

Of the 17 tracks, six are live ones recorded in Oslo. These are more electric-blues based. They do not seem to include Whitfield, but they have blues bar spirit and good playing.

This is not a strange adventure, but it gives a fresh sound to the folk blues, which is a good venture.

review by
Dave Howell

27 September 2008

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