Review: Bill Perry

Fire It Up
Blind Pig BPCD5069

Itchin’ For It/ Clean Thing/ Fire It Up/ Pressure/ I Can’t See The Light of Day/ Born in New York/ Thinkin’ of You/ G & L Jump/ I Ain’t Lyin’/ Heaven In A Pontiac/ Cheatin’ Blues

Guitarist and vocalist, Bill Perry has been playing in East Coast bands since he was a teenager. His musical tastes have varied from rock to blues. His influences have varied from Jimi Hendrix to Albert Collins to Freddy King, among others. He has been a member of folk singer Richie Havens’ band as well as lead guitarist with Rick Danko and Garth Hudson of the Band, as part of the 20th anniversary Woodstock tour of Europe. He gave a rousing performance at the Bishopstock Blues Festival in England in 1999. This concert sparked the interest of Blind Pig Records, and led to a recording contract with them.

He has recorded three previous albums, and this is his first CD with Blind Pig Records. It has some blues influences with boogie numbers, such as “Itchin’ For It,” and a surprising Delta-style acoustic song, “Cheatin” Blues.” There are also rock and rock ‘n’ roll songs. It is his smouldering guitar playing that adds fresh dimensions to otherwise dull and mundane rhythm patterns, especially at the beginning of the eleven- track album. He often plays in a high-pitched vein and sounds like he might be on a high wire. He seems to be more fired up in the last few songs. He really lets his guitar rip in his own instrumental composition, “G & L Jump”, and shows his chops. In the fast rock ‘n’ roll number, “Heaven In A Pontiac,” written by co-producer, Jimmy Vivino, Perry and the piano player, David Bennett Cohen, produce some great high energy. In another original composition by Perry, there is a total change from the rest of the album. “Cheatin’ Blues” is a country- style acoustic song in which Perry alone sings and plays some fancy riffs in his highly dramatic tale.

Perry’s vocals are gritty and rough-hewn, with occasional bursts of emotion. He wrote or co-wrote, often with Jimmy Vivino, six of the songs on the album. This CD of Bill Perry shows off some of his talents, particularly in his guitar playing and song writing. Some of the tunes reflect these talents more strongly than others. Bill is on the way to firing up audiences, especially if he had a consistently more solid set of exciting tunes.

By Maria Bainer, © May, 2001

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.