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APOLOGIES

Sorry about not re-posting. I've an illness in my family, but I will reply to all ASAP. For the time being, my beautiful friend, Eva is helping me out. Thank you for your understanding...Paul

16.7.09

Mark Cook




Mark Cook - The Promise Highway - 2002 - Wendster Records

Mark Cook is one talented young man. On his last outing, "An Evening With The Blues," he handled just about every chore, from writing to multi-instrumental duties to production and engineering. A fine debut, that project was marred only by unconvincing vocals. Mark continues to wear many hats with "The Promise Highway"; not only did he write all the songs (with help on just one), he engineered, produced, mixed and arranged the project. Restricting himself to guitar, he's now working with a full band, and has solved his vocal dilemma quite nicely by recruiting two fine singers in the persons of Roman Broadus and DaRon Washington. Mark's blues lean to the rock side (lots of fiery fretwork in evidence), spiced with equal measures of funk, a bit of jazz, even some pop. Whereas such a blend can often result in a lack of focus, Mark holds everything together nicely, sequencing things intelligently to deliver a satisfyingly integrated package, the variety a plus rather than a distraction. The title track, a funky declaration of defiance, is fuelled by B3 and harmonica, Mr. Broadus' vocals just this side of overwrought; "Another Year Goes Passing By" (not, as one might suspect, an answer to Albert King's similarly-titled classic) is a bouncy shuffle. Mark shows his blues chops on "Down With The Blues," with Ms. Washington's soulful pleading deriving much of its passion from the church. Mark's work here shows both maturity and restraint. Again the B3, courtesy of Bobby Mobley, provides a solid and soulful cushion of support. "Mood Swing" is a jazzy little jump number; there's a delta groove to "You Can Take Away My Woman (But Don't Take Away My Wine)," and slippery funk on "This Is My Life." Elsewhere there are furious shuffles ("Bummin's My Profession" and "Don't You Ever Leave"), more funk (the aptly-titled "Funk The Blues"), breezy, jazz-inflected pop (think George Benson) on ""When The Blues Takes Hold Of Me," even a bit of swamp with "The Bitter Truth," a duet with Ms. Washington and Roman spurring each other on to frenzied heights - toss in a fine sax solo by Randy Hunter and this one may well be the disc's highlight. Mark wraps things up with a solo "Blues For A Rainy Day," a moody instrumental that effectively conjures up a dreamy, almost otherworldly atmosphere. Short and sweet, it's very pretty, very relaxing, yet Mark manages to make it swing just a bit. Very nice indeed. Still young by the standards of the blues game, Mark is enormously talented and shows great promise. He'd be well advised, however, to take some lessons on packaging; the cover shot is cheesy in the extreme. Given the quality of the contents, I sincerely hope it doesn't put potential buyers off. This one's definitely worth a listen. © John Taylor. Review date: October 2002. © 2002 Ray M. Stiles. Blues On Stage is a ® Trademark of Ray Stiles

A good but slightly lightweight blues rock album. If you are looking for a power blues charged album in the style of SRV, Walter Trout, or Tommy Castro, this is not the album for you. "The Promise Highway" is on the lighter side, with pop, and smooth jazz influences. Mark is a talented guy, and it would be great to hear more forceful blues numbers, and more attractive power blues guitar work from him. He obviously has the ability. Give his "An Evening With the Blues" album a listen

TRACKS

1. The Promise Highway
2. Another Year Goes Passin' By
3. Down With The Blues
4. Mood Swing
5. You Can Take Away My Woman (Just Please Don't Take Away My Wine)
6. This Is My Life
7. Bummin's My Profession
8. Funk The Blues
9. Don't You Ever Leave
10. When The Blues Takes Hold Of Me
11. The Bitter Truth
12. Blues For A Rainy Day

All songs composed by Mark Cook

BAND

Mark Cook (Guitar Acoustic), (Guitar), (National Steel Guitar)
Sam Skelton (Guitar), (Sax Tenor)
Andy Engel (Bass)
Bobby Mobley (Hammond B-3 organ/piano)
Chuck Hill (Drums)
Randy Hunter Tenor Sax
DaRon Washington, Roman Broadus (Vocals)

REVIEWS

I rarely accept unsolicited review material. My reasoning for this is that I simply will not write about any recording that I do not think is worth your money to purchase and I also do not want an artist wasting his or her money by sending me a promo that I am never going to use. I am blessed to have some great eyes and ears all over the world who recommend recordings to me, and they are almost always right on the mark. Also, thank goodness for sound samples on the internet. I do get fooled once in a while, and receive a truly outstanding unsolicited recording. Such is the case with "The Promise Highway", the latest recording from Atlanta, Georgia based blues/rock guitarist Mark Cook. Though one of my better contacts (Thanks Steve!) recommended Mr. Cook to me, I had never heard a note of his work when his CD arrived at my home. I placed it in the CD player with the normal amount of doubt, but was quickly won over as a fan by what I heard on this recording. Cook, though apparently still a very young man, is a very polished, diverse and seasoned guitarist. He plays with both precision and emotion, and always seems to know just how much he can put into a song without overdoing it. He is also an excellent songwriter, with all 12 tracks being his original compositions. His band is one of the more talented I have heard in a good while, featuring a very impressive Andy Engle on bass, Chuck Hill on drums, Bobby Mobley on Hammond B-3, Randy Hunter on tenor sax, with the band's vocal duties divided between the raw and rugged Roman Broadus and the smooth and sultry DaRon Washington. This band has to be extremely good live, and I have put them on my ever growing list of those I hope to someday hear in person. This CD is all good and includes one of my favorite instrumentals I have heard, "Mood Swing", the piercing Cook guitar and powerful DaRon Vocals of "This Is My Life" (which may be my favorite on the set), the title track, which sounds somewhat like "Street Corner Talking" era Savoy Brown, and the Chicago blues styled "Don't You Ever Leave", featuring great honky tonk piano, hot harmonica, and Cooks patented molten guitar work. © Bluesrockers 2002

"Blues is steeped in tradition, but there are new talents coming to the blues all the time, such a new talent is Mark Cook" Phoenix Blues Society. "Cook's versatility and maturity will surely garner him some big-time attention soon, as the blues world is always looking for someone of his depth and potential" Indie-Music. Mark is the recipient of the 'Just Plain Folks' BLUES ALBUM OF THE YEAR - and has also been awarded sixth place in the BLUES SONG OF THE YEAR - for "All Your Lovin." Much of Mark's earlier years as a child were spent on the road, touring around the country side of the United States and Canada in a musical up-bringing. Known as the "Dale and Vicki Duo", a popular jazz and blues act, Mark's mom alongside his stepfather performed nightly. This sort of musical gypsy lifestyle must have set the foundation for what would be a life long love for the blues style music. At the age of 15, Mark settled in Indiana and began crafting his skills as a serious musician. While his main emphasis was on guitar, he also taught himself to play bass and piano. He also began dabbling in 4-track demos, recording many of his earlier compositions. His love for writing and recording eventually led to building a professional recording studio in his house where he wrote, engineered, produced, and recorded his debut CD "An Evening With The Blues." An accomplished and dynamic performer on guitar, Mark has performed and recorded in many bands over the years. Playing different genres of music such as: rock, jazz, and blues. In 1992, he was lead guitarist and songwriter in the rock band Silhouette. They recorded at the Bennett House in Nashville, Tennessee with producer Kenny Mimms (who also produced Jimi Jamison from the rock group Survivor). Mark has also done some television work and was featured in a TV commercial for the radio station WZZQ 107.5 in Indiana. Mark's band, the Cook-N-Blues Experience, has played clubs in the midwest for the past year, entertaining standing room only crowds with the music of blues greats such as: Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, but also many of Mark's original music. As the band's slogan states "Blues With A Flair - Experience It - You Won't Believe Your Ears." For his debut CD "An Evening With The Blues" Mark wanted to capture the old style of blues from many different perspectives. As stated by Indie-Music, "The twelve song CD is rich in balance and heritage which makes this debut CD a sheer delight cut after cut." "An Evening With The Blues" has received great reviews by such publications as Blues Access, Blues Revue, and Vintage Guitar Magazine as well as many on-line blues publications. Mark's second CD "The Promise Highway" (June 2002) has taken his writing to the next level. This new release is packed with killer songs,soulful vocals and aggressive guitar with great dynamics. THIS IS BLUES WITH A FLAIR. This CD will surely please all blues enthusiasts. © 2004 - 2009 Tradebit Inc, in partnership with CDbaby . www.tradebit.com/filedetail.php/439530-mark-cook

BIO

Born into a musical family, multi-talented electric blues guitarist Mark Cook grew up on the road, touring North America with his parents, who billed themselves as the Dale & Vicki Duo. Cook inherited his parents' gift and passion for music, namely the blues, and set out to become a serious musician after settling in Indiana at age 15. Since then, Cook furthered his masterful command of the guitar and also taught himself bass, piano, and production. Over time, he constructed a professional recording studio in his home, where he engineered, produced, and recorded his debut CD, An Evening With the Blues, in 2000. The album won acclaim, particularly from Just Plain Folks, a large music-industry organization, who voted it Best Blues Album of the Year 2001. Cook released his second album, The Promise Highway, in 2002. © Jason Birchmeier, All Music Guide