David Gogo Live At Deer Lake: Official Bootleg Series Volume 1

David Gogo is a West Coast bluesman who has worked tirelessly to build an audience for his brand of the blues, gradually making inroads across the entire country from constant gigging and a prolific five-album catalogue. Last year’s Maple Blues Guitarist of the Year has this year’s distinction of Deer Lake being nominated for a 2004 Juno, only to have the honour retracted over a bungled eligibility issue. The resulting press drew more attention than a Juno ever would but the fiasco is Juno’s loss, since this "bootleg” does a superb job of summing up what Gogo is all about. Originally a "live” blues radio recording, its release stems from fan-based pressure, augmented by two additional "unofficial” recordings. Deer Lake finds Gogo as less of a front-man and more of a band player and the songs are the better for it. Of course, Gogo’s scorching blues rock guitar remains at the core of his music and his powerful vocals have come to earn equal billing on such soulful numbers as James Brown’s "It’s A Man’s World” — melding R&B to blues rock with true conviction. But songs like Muddy Waters’ "Louisiana Blues” and his own "Skeleton Key” showcase a hardworking crew in top fighting form, with a driving rhythm section and exceptional B3 contributions from Brendan Hedley. Gogo uses this solid platform as springboard for his aggressive style but has also learned to sit back and enjoy the groove. You can hear it on Deer Lake and it’s a mature recording that only teases at what is to come. (Cordova Bay)