Jimmy James Calling On Love

Out of a basement in Beaconsfield, PQ comes a rich guitar talent who had to be coaxed into releasing this disc of powerful, original blues music. Jimmy James (aka Demetrios Bakolias - his pseudonym borrowed from an early Hendrix one) has been plying his trade for over 25 of his 45 years and as a domesticated homebody, seems content with his local hero status. Yet, this belated release is a true find for lovers of blues/rock/fusion hybrids. James's battle-worn power trio, featuring Cliff Gelfand on bass and Denis Courchesne on drums, have lovingly recorded a "too-good-to-be-true" collection of old school blues (think Mayall's Bluesbreakers, crossed with Hendrix invention) that positively reek of authenticity. James's chops are born of endless live gigging in and around Montreal, and the net result is a sound unlike anyone else's - his influences are truly absorbed, rather than recycled. And, although the rather lacklustre recording quality initially screams under-production, its warmth and soulful sounds project well beyond any limitations. This is the secret of Calling On Love's appeal. Aside from James's obvious control of his instrument and a voice that compliments the material, this is music that is felt close to the heart and played right to the bone. There's good reason he's loved locally and is regularly chosen to open and close Montreal's world-class Jazz Festivals. This is a sizeable, blues-based talent whose lack of recognition beyond the borders of Quebec is truly criminal. This disc deserves some serious listening. You won't go away disappointed. (Zeb)