2018 – Treated and Released Records
By Phillip Smith; April 7, 2018
Dial It In, the third album from the good Reverend Freakchild is absolutely fabulous. Most often with a National steel guitar in hand, his brand of blues and blues-rock is incredibly unique, outstanding, and at times a bit psychedelic. For this album, Freakchild enlists drummer Chris Parker (Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker, Paul Butterfield) and guitarist Hugh Pool who also recorded and mixed the album.
The record softly cracks open with a mostly instrumental, backwoods, swampy blues track “Opus Earth”. Accented with backwards guitar, a hypnotic beat, and spiritual chants, this amazing track lets the listener know they are in for a unique listening experience. Freakchild delectably covers Depeche Mode with a nice and greasy blues-soaked arrangement of “Personal Jesus (on the Mainline)”. With Pool blowing harp, and Freakchild providing the suave velvety vocals and twang, this version totally demolishes the original. Guitarist Mark Karan and bassist Robin Sylvester, both from Ratdog guest on “Hippie Bluesman Blues”. They instill a delightful deadhead vibe into this country-blues original.
The soulful rhythm in “Dial It In” coupled with Freakchild’s fast-paced prose draws me in with a firm grasp. Spirited backing vocals from the lovely Hazel Miller join with Garrett Dutton’s (G Love and Special Sauce) for a rejoicing funky good time. With Jay Collins boldly belting it out on saxophone, Freakchild fearlessly takes on Dylan’s “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” in a marvelous no-holds barred performance. A wonderful tribute to Blind Willie Johnson is exhibited in a “Soul of Man”, before the good Rev takes us home with the cosmic closer “Opus Space” for a grand finale. And to this, I say “Amen Brother, Amen!”.
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