2017 – West Tone Records
By Phillip Smith; Feb. 24, 2018
Rockin’ Johnny Burgin has been putting out righteous blues music for at least twenty years, and his latest release Neoprene Fedora is no exception. On this sixteen track record, Burgin further explores the blues, taps into some California surf guitar, and steps into the world of zydeco for a few songs. Again, recording at the Greaseland Studios in San Jose, California, Burgin enlists a super group of notable musicians to join him: Kid Andersen (guitar/bass/piano), Aki Kumar (harp/percussion/vocals), Bob Welsh (guitar/piano), Alabama Mike (vocals), Vance Ehlers (bass), June Core (drums/percussion), Stephen Dougherty (drums), Nancy Wright (sax.), Steve Willis (accordion), Billy Wilson (rub board), and Chris Matheos (bass).
Title track, Neoprene Fedora is one smokin’ cool tune. This is California surf at its best. With Nancy Wright on sax, and Kid Andersen joining in on guitar, the song pretty much soars skyward with its over seven minute instrumental jam. I love how Burgin’s cover of “Give Me an Hour in Your Garden” drips with authenticity. Originally recorded by Papa John Creech on his 1972 album Filthy, Burgin wails this one with heart and soul as Anderson joins in on piano. Alabama Mike steps in on vocals and Aki Kumar on harp, as Burgin breaks the funk out on “Smoke and Mirrors”. This juicy track is soaked in the raw grit of the mid-Seventies, and I dig every bit of it. Burgin connects right in to the essence of the average blue-collar worker in “I Ain’t Gonna Be a Working Man No More”. Featuring a driving rhythm from Ehlers and Dougherty and the guitar prowess of the great Bob Welsh, the song buries in deep. With a Smokestack Lightnin riff, Burgin bids a personal adieu to the Windy City in “Goodbye Chicago” and sets his scope on the Sunkist State, where he now resides. It’s a wonderful homage.
Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon store.