"...Brown is massively funky, and uncorks truckloads of energy..." - Michael Molenda, Editor, Guitar Player Magazine

Thanks to Clay Phillips for his review of Dancing In The Belly Of The Beast

Posted by Trudi Brown on January 10, 2020. 0 Comments

Great review!!...thanks Clay Phillips 😎😀💙
******NEW ALBUM REVIEW******
“Dancing In The Belly Of The Beast”
Bushmaster Blues featuring Gary Brown

First off, this is a stupendous Rhythm&Blues album. You’ll find a more than full serving of knife edge blues, all spilling from this Prospect Park, VA Bluesman and his cast of thousands*, but you’ll find so very much more than that... There’s nods to the quintessential D.C. artform known as go-go music, there’s dips and dabs of jazz and buckets of soul, and there’s enough absolutely acid wah guitar to satisfy the staunchest Hendrixian, but there’s still more...

There’s a wealth of emotion in the 14 tracks here, from the opening bounce of the lead-off “Profile”, which juxtaposes the rolling, constant riff and the lovely strains of the background vocalists with the absolutely crushing subject matter of the song. The lyrics follow suit, using the phrase “profile in courage” as a well-schooled buttress against the racial profiling that has proliferated in the country for the last ever how many years it’s been since you noticed it going on (because honestly, that’s the only time something seems to really become a problem, right? When we notice it’s happening, THEN it’s an issue, right??...but I digress)...

All the way through to the closer, “Thing Back Home”, a wildly unexpected countryish shuffle, with a solo that you’d swear came from a Gretsch Country Gentleman with a great big smoking “G” brand fresh on its face.
(Trust me, you really, REALLY want to hear the story on this one. It’ll make you grin, even through this current 4 years...*hint hint*)

All along the way, there are tons of standout music, miles of standout wordplay, and the way they work together is just too damn good to ignore.

There’s “Ajax and Hot Wax”, itself a mid-tempo rocker that one could easily hear covered by Buddy Guy. A song for bad love, or maybe rejected love is a better way to put it, it sells the story of that love (or possibly the absence of the same) very well. The breakdown in this song alone is worth twice the price of the full album! Another stellar solo cuts through the mix, bringing everything together into a great roux.

There’s “Elevator”, which is absolutely lush in its duality. In one of the truest blues staples, it’s meant to let you know right quick that a knife cuts both ways. Or as stated here, “an elevator goes two ways.”
It’s succinct and pointed, and it damn well should be...

That’s maybe the greatest thing about this blazing record, that it just refuses to lie to you. And I mean repeatedly, just an absolute refusal to turn its gaze from the truth...
That’s a truly rare thing in any media, much less the pure enjoyment of music...
The truth, writ large.

On that note, there’s “Song For Freddie Grey”, a track that opens with the regimented rhythm of a battery, drumming out the rhythm. The song speaks to a nationwide issue of police militarization towards folks who don’t look like them, to the point of outright murder in the streets. The song is a cold water slap in the face, grounding the listener in the same things the artist faces on the daily...
The difference being that the listener can always take their headphones off.

That got me to thinking about something.
We are better as individuals and better as a community when we are more well-informed, more well read. We are better as a society when we get out of our own personal bubbles and know and learn more, far beyond the confines we’ve declared for our own horizons.
Gary Brown does his damnedest to bring us some of that, with fantastic guitar playing and serious singing, and arrangements that are always on point...
What I’m saying is just this:

Your enjoyment of this record...of ANY record, for that matter, will only be heightened by a more well-informed mind. On this disc in particular, you really rob yourself if you miss the references that Gary Brown drops all over this one. Trust me, you want to know what he’s speaking of!!

I’m going to give you a few of my exceptional pieces, but you’ll find other things to love about this album.
(You can tell I did. These are my favorites at the moment, after a dozen pretty in depth run throughs...give me 48 hours, and I’m certain they will at least be in a different hierarchy of favoritism, probably joined by one or two more..or more. This record just doesn’t have clunkers. That’s such a good thing!)

Personal Favorites: 40 Acres and a Mule, Song for Freddie Grey, Ajax and Hot Wax, Profile, Jekyll and Hyde

Recommendation: Buy This Album. Brother Gary sent me a reviewer’s copy, but I’m proud to say I bought a Digital Copy.
*- that “cast of thousands” I spoke of contains every musician putting in work, every real-life person being sung about, and every last listener who’ll surely turn a friend on to this album, too.

Gary Brown

( G&T Again, I’m sorry this review took so long. Life got busy getting in the way, you know. Thanks for letting me review the platter! Sincerely my pleasure to do it.-c)


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