Album, Single and EP Reviews



  Alphabetical Blues Bash Volume 2 by The Wayne Riker Gathering

Alphabetical Blues Bash Volume 2 cover art

Artist: The Wayne Riker Gathering
Title: Alphabetical Blues Bash Volume 2
Catalogue Number: Fretfull Records
Review Format: Compact Disc
Release Year: 2024

“Alphabetical Blues Bash Volume 2” is, as the title suggests, the second volume in a series that takes a bunch of San Diego’s finest blues singers and lets them loose on a alphabetically ordered selection of songs led by the redoubtable Wayne Riker. That’s The Wayne Riker Gathering and that’s how they roll.

Alphabets being what they are and songwriters being what they are, the song selection gets to be a bit more interesting this time around and, while you won’t be disappointed by Stacy Antonel’s respectful take on “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer” or Steve Gouveia’s right down the line version of “Parchman Farm Blues”, it is the entries at the end of the alphabet that ended up rattling my cage with the covers of “ Ventilator Blues” – led in the best laconic style by Deanna Haala – and the curiously twisted “Zeitgeist” being more than worth the price of admission.

Wayne Riker is indeed a master of the blues guitar and his contribution is always evident yet he leaves plenty of space for the guest vocalists to make their mark. In the end, it’s all about the song and he clearly knows that.
Review Date: March 10 2024