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10.6.09

Les Dudek




Les Dudek - Deeper Shades of Blues - 1994 - GeoSynchronous Records

Among his many credits, the great Rhode Island guitarist, Les Dudek played lead guitar on" Ramblin Man" and acoustic guitar on the classic "Jessica", both on the Allman Brothers Band "Brothers and Sisters" album. For three years he played with Boz Scaggs, and played slide guitar on "Jump Street" on Boz's memorable "Silk Degrees" album. He also collaborated with Mike Finnigan, who played with Jimi Hendrix and CSN&Y and Jim Krueger, who wrote "We Just Disagree" for Dave Mason. In the late seventies, Les played with "Dudek, Finnegan,and Krueger" who released one s/t album. This band also toured with Kansas. Les Dudek has released some great albums, and has toured worldwide, but he has yet to receive his due credit. Ok, "Deeper Shades of Blues" may be a bit on the AOR/"commercial" side, but unlike many albums of this genre, it is never dull or repetitive. The guy is a Grade A guitarist, and writes all his own songs. He also has musicians on this album like the brilliant, and sadly missed drummer, Jeff Porcaro. Buy his great "Say No More" album, and listen to Steve Miller's "Wide River" album, on which Les plays some great guitar.

TRACKS

Leavin' My Blues Behind
Love With You
Deeper Shades of Blues
Strange Love
Assault and Battery
Your Love
Maybe Forever
Come Back to Me
Moulin Rouge
You Make Me Ill

All tracks composed by Les Dudek

MUSICIANS

Les Dudek (Guitar), (Slide Guitar), (Guitar (Acoustic), (Guitar (Bass), (Dobro), (Vocals)
Jerry Riggs (Guitar)
David Paich (Organ), (Synthesizer)
David Gross (Synthesizer), (Synthesizer Strings)
Jeff Porcaro (Percussion), (Drums)
David Northrup (Drums)
Charles DeChant (Saxophone), (Sax (Alto)),(Saxello)
Mike Galloway (Harmonica)

REVIEW

I guess it's probably fair to call Les Dudek "semi-legendary" - he's been around along time and been involved with alot of different projects. From an AOR point of view his finest moment was back in 1980 when he teamed up with Cher to record the "Black Rose" album that was produced by James Newton Howard. I'm not exactly sure when this 1994 release was recorded as it features Toto's Jeff Porcaro on drums on all tracks and he died two years earlier. Moreover, the Toto connection dosen't stop there as David Paich plays keyboards on all tracks also. Now you're probably saying to yourself, "Judging by the title this should be a fairly boring blues album" - far from it! Overall the best reference point is Steve Lukather's "Candyman" release as the approach is very comparable. For sure there are still blues elements present but they are very controlled and the songs for the most part are very direct. Opener "Leavin' my Blues Behind" is quite like the best bits of Pat Travers (which come to think of it was a heck of a long time ago!) or Eric Johnson when he wants to rock out, and sets a good tone for the album. "Maybe Forever" and "Moulin Rouge" also slap you about the face pretty quickly with their big guitar breaks to make sure you're paying attention - those tracks are excellent and are actually not that far removed from "Mr. Big" - very nice indeed! But it is the fushion-tinged instrumental "Assault and Battery" that is my favourite track. Jeff Porcaro puts in a breath taking performance on this one and the end result is not a million miles away from the "Dixie Dregs" with a very slight bluesy tinge. Fans of long lost AOR classics might also be interested to note that Jerry Riggs, of the modestly titles "Riggs" and later of the aforementioned Pat Travers band, also appears on "Your Love" though this is a more bluesy workout. To sum up, a very pleasing release that's been, so far, surprisingly overlooked that shouldn't be pigeon-holed as just another blues album. © 2004 Ian McIntosh, AOR Basement, all rights reserved



BIO

Guitarist Les Dudek has played with some of rock and pop's biggest names (Stevie Nicks, Steve Miller, Dave Mason, Cher, Boz Scaggs, and the Allman Brothers Band, among others), in addition to issuing solo albums on his own. Born on August 2, 1957, in Rhode Island, Dudek began playing guitar at the age of 11 (first inspired by such pop hitmakers as Elvis Presley and the Beatles), and only three years later, would sneak into bars to play with bands. It was during his teenaged years that Dudek discovered such blues masters as Freddie, Albert, and B.B. King, as well as such then-modern day blues rockers as Paul Butterfield and Steve Miller. By the early '70s, Dudek was residing in Florida, playing in the obscure group Power, whose keyboard player was friends with the Allman Brothers' Dickey Betts. Soon a friendship was struck up between Betts and Dudek, as Betts contemplated forming a side band in addition to his Allman duties. The duo cut some demos, but the group was disbanded when work on the Allman's classic Brothers and Sisters album got underway. But Dudek was present for the recording sessions, laying down some guitar lines alongside Betts on "Ramblin' Man" and helping co-write one of the Allman's best-known songs, "Jessica" (for which Dudek also played on). After his brief detour with the Allman Brothers, Dudek signed on with Boz Scaggs, playing with him for five years and appearing on the 1976 release Silk Degrees. Dudek became friends with one of his main guitar influences during this time, Steve Miller, leading to a co-headlining tour between Scaggs and Miller, which saw Dudek appearing with both artists each night. (Miller would subsequently record a few of Dudek's original compositions, including "Sacrifice" for his Book of Dreams release, while Dudek also played on Miller's Fly Like an Eagle album.) A planned acoustic tour with just Dudek and Miller was shelved at the last minute, as Dudek returned for a tour with Scaggs. With all this activity, Dudek still found time to sign a solo deal with Columbia Records, issuing four albums between 1976 and 1981 -- 1976's self-titled debut, 1977's Say No More, 1978's Ghost Town Parade, and 1981's Gypsy Ride -- as well as launching the DFK Band (which saw Dudek joined by keyboardist Mike Finnigan and guitarist Jim Krueger), who issued a lone, self-titled release in 1979. Dudek also played with Cher briefly in the early '80s, as the famous singer attempted to launch a rock-based outfit, Cher & Black Rose, which failed to get off the ground due to record label turmoil. Cher launched her successful movie acting career shortly thereafter and even helped Dudek land a bit part in 1985's Mask as a boyfriend (Cher and Dudek demoed a song for the movie which has remained unissued). Dudek then guested on Stevie Nicks' 1985 release, Rock a Little, and was the guitarist on the album's ensuing tour. The '90s saw Dudek return to his blues roots, as he appeared on Steve Miller's back-to-basics release, 1993's Wide River, and issued his fifth solo release overall, 1994's Deeper Shade of Blues. © Greg Prato, All Music Guide