Mark Sallings &
the Famous Unknowns,
Talkin' to Myself
(Vent, 1997)

This CD leaps out of the traps with a breathtaking first track. "Rocket 88" is a well-titled traditional piece. Its driving beat and sensational harmonica playing will lift your spirits on the blackest day.

Mark Sallings & the Famous Unknowns was the house band at B.B. King's Club in Memphis for four years in the early 1990s, and that experience shows in the professionalism displayed on this CD. In fact, some of the tracks reflect on that period in their existence. Have a listen to "Trash Talkin'," which was written by Sallings, to get that club atmosphere.

Like all good blues albums, women and traveling are well represented. I particularly enjoyed "Selfish With My Time." If you get tired of lyrics and just want the music to sweep you away, give a listen to "Critter."

I will be the first to admit that jazz and blues do not usually grab me, but this CD proves to be the exception. If you feel the need to be way down in Memphis without leaving your living room, give Talkin' To Myself a try.

[ by Nicky Rossiter ]
Rambles: 11 May 2002

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