2016 – Vizztone Records
By Phillip Smith; Jan. 21, 2017
As New York blues artist Tas Cru explains, he is returning to his ‘acoustic-ish’ blues roots on his latest album, Simmered & Stewed. He breathes a delightful new life into a handful of his older recorded material with the use of his acoustic, resonator and cigar box guitars.
Cru gets a spirited and running start on the outstanding “Dat Maybe”, revving up his resonator through the driving beat supplied by Andy Hearn, a juicy wall of harmonica from Dick Earl Ericksen and a soulful organ accompaniment from Guy Nirelli. It’s impossible to escape the gravitational pull of the trance groove Tas embeds in “Feel I’m Falling”. Distant backing vocals and Ron Keck’s spacy ominous percussion add to the haunting vibe in this brilliantly psychedelic cry for help. David Liddy’s rollicking barrelhouse piano playing shines bright through the saucy and manic blues of “Biscuit”. Shout outs to the legendary Delta Blues great Robert Lockwood Jr. and the voice of KFFA’s King Biscuit Flour Hour ‘Sunshine’ Sonny Payne also bring a smile to my face.
Simmered & Stewed is chock full of all original tunes, with the exception of one song. As the only cover on the album, the 1967 Jackie Wilson hit song “Higher and Higher” deliciously and slowly builds to a fast boil in the uplifting form of a southern gospel ten revival session. This is a nice treat indeed. Thus the album comes to its finish, and I say, Amen brother!