Album, Single and EP Reviews



  American Guitar by Rizorkestra

American Guitar cover art

Artist: Rizorkestra
Title: American Guitar
Catalogue Number: Unstrictly Roots UR002
Review Format: CD
Release Year: 2007

The one-man band is something you seldom see or hear these days. For all it mattered, the very notion could have faded into history, to be revived only by old films. If you doubt the existence of one-man bands, you should give Los Angeles multi-instrumentalist RizOrkestra a listen. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Riz plays a variety of instruments, from dobro to bass drum. In essence, RizOrkestra is a fully-functional, walking blues band. "American Guitar" was recorded without the use of studio overdubs - another art that has almost been made extinct in this modern age. To listen to the album only makes this meat all the more credible. "Drunkard's Special" is pure bar-room blues, and being honest, almost every song on the album could go by that description. The reworking of Hendrix's "Voodoo Child" is well worth hearing. It's almost as if this recording predates the original. Instrumental tracks like "St. Thomas" wouldn't sound too out of place on a latter day Beefheart album.

Riz doesn't have most powerful voice, but his voice is certainly suited to the wading acoustic blues it accompanies. The voice certainly plays second fiddle to the music, and that in itself is no bad thing.

This album is hardly going to have mainstream appeal, but to anyone who has the faintest love for the blues, it is a very worthwhile acquisition. One for the summer evenings spent with beer and cigarettes.
Review Date: August 30 2007