Rant ‘N’ Roll: Israeli Blues, Jeff Beck, White Soul And “A Love Mechanic”

The blues knows no geographical borders: Lazer Lloyd is Israel’s “King Of Blues Rock.” He’s even been on the road when his wife and five children had to hunker down in a bomb shelter. Chicago’s Lots of Love Records has released his self-titled 12-track third album containing 11 originals and a cover of Otis Redding’s “Dock Of The Bay.”

Lloyd, born Lloyd Paul Blumen in New York City, was raised in Connecticut and schooled at Skidmore studying under Randy Brecker and the legendary jazz bassist Milt Hinton [1910-2000]. A chance meeting with a hippie rabbi who was also a working musician led him to Tel Aviv and he stayed for 20 years in the land of beautiful beaches and beautiful women.

His musical style is more Southern rock than straight blues. His lyrics are heady reminders of what some people have to constantly put up with. “Rockin’ In The Holy Land” is the instant anthem and “Moroccan Women” provides the good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll lust. Self-produced, his stylings and his solos have obvious calling cards: that of Hendrix, Stevie Ray and B.B. King (as filtered through Michael Blooomfield). His voice shows he’s been listening to a little country too. Other highlights include “Suffering,” “Never Give Up,” “Love Yourself” and “Broken Dreams.”


                Jeff Beck is Performing This Week: Live At Ronnie Scott’s (Eagle Rock Entertainment) on a new two-disc set from 2007, the first disc with 16 instrumentals including his classic “Beck’s Bolero,” “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” (the Mingus tribute to Lester Young) and Lennon/McCartney’s “A Day In The Life.” In fact, I dare say this Sgt. Pepper chestnut now has to be thought of as half his. In other words, he done stole this gorgeous sucker right out from under the Beatles. I can’t even think of this song anymore without hearing Beck’s beautiful balladry tone and how he makes that guitar sing (maybe because I witnessed him perform it live last year when he toured with Brian Wilson and he damn near raised a lump in my throat). We’re talkin’ some straight-up jazz-rock fusion here.

Disc #2 is even better. Joss Stone sings Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready” while Beck wails. Imogen Heap totally revitalizes “Rollin’ And Tumblin’ (a 1929 Hambone Newbern blues Beck played with The Yardbirds in 1967). Eric Clapton sings and burns on “You Need Love,” the Muddy Waters song stolen by Small Faces and Led Zeppelin (who lost in court) when they renamed it “Whole Lotta Love.” The disc ends with a boppin’ seven-song set of rockabilly where Beck turns into Scottie Moore on such great tunes as Tiny Bradshaw’s 1951 “Train Kept A Rollin’” which Beck also played with The Yardbirds in 1966, as well as the Elvis Presley hit “My Baby Left Me” (written by Big Boy Cruddup in 1950 who received no royalties so he turned to bootlegging) and Carl Perkins’ “Matchbox.”


Day Into Night has Indianapolis singer/songwriter/harmonicat Tad Robinson crooning atop the Severn Records guitar/keyboards/bass/drums house band, hot horn charts and heavyweight guest lead guitarist Anson Funderburgh punctuating “Lonely Talking” with his signature stabs. 11 originals plus a rollicking cover of Bobby Blue Bland’s “Lead Me On” step away from straight blues into blue-eyed soul territory.

San Francisco’s JC Smith is a barn-burning touring superman of the blues but his day job as a Love Mechanic (Cozmick Records) must keep him busy. This bandleader/guitarist/singer/songwriter can also pull out super-cool covers like Eddie Boyd’s 1952 “Five Long Years,” Little Walter’s 1954 “Last Night” or James Brown’s 1967 “Cold Sweat.”