Get this crazy baby off my head!


Tinsley Ellis

Tinsley Ellis - Hell Or High Water - 2002 - Telarc

Undeterred by the lukewarm response to his last Capricorn album (due to the bad timing of it being released mere weeks before the company folded in 2000), Atlanta-based blues rocker Tinsley Ellis signed with his third label, Telarc, in early 2002 and churned out another signature effort. Bolstered by his roaring guitar shooting fiery licks, gruff singing, and no-frills approach, Ellis adds a hearty R&B edge to his music. Shortening his solos (only the slow burning eight-minute "Feelin' No Pain" stretches out into epic length), the songs never feel like vehicles for Ellis' obvious six-string prowess. Instead, the Steely Dan "Pretzel Logic" riff inspired "All Rumors Are True" and the magnificent "Mystery to Me" with its genuine soul vibe and warm electric piano set up a groove and ride it. Ellis revisits his louder, crunchier past with the wailing intro to "All I Can Do" and the ZZ Top (circa mid-'70s) swirl of "Ten Year Day," a song inspired by the events of September 11, 2001. Atlanta vocalist Donna Hopkins contributes hard-hitting backing vocals worthy of Bonnie Bramlett on three tracks, further pushing these songs into soulful territory. While the "Bell Bottom Blues"-styled ballad of "Stuck in Love" is a little too reminiscent of Clapton's writing and guitar style, as is the wah-wah churning "Strange Brew"-isms of "All I Can Do," Ellis doesn't generally ape other guitarists. Rather, he concocts his own combination of Freddie King, Peter Green, and Memphis influences. The closing James Taylor-ish acoustic ballad seems out of place with the rest of the sturdy performances, such as the strutting title track, but shows a tender side to the tough, heartfelt blues and rock that dominate this engaging album. © Hal Horowitz © 2012 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/hell-or-high-water-r571234/review

Tinsley Ellis has earned a reputation for heavy blues-rock guitar since he quit Atlanta's Heartfixers in 1987. But Hell Or High Water, his first album for Telarc, lightens up just enough, so the sweet-and-high six-string intro to "Stuck in Love" enhances the song's guitar melody and the tenderness of his lyrics. He aims for a softer, thinner tone on "Real Bad Way" and turns "Feel No Pain" into a slow, soulful essay in guitar anxiety, full of telling fills, bends and solo breaks. He also plays a few acoustic numbers that really allow the butter-and-black-pepper tones of his Southern-accented voice to emerge. Not that Ellis is playing things too cool--there's still plenty of guitar fire all over this record. It's just that he's learned to control the burning. © Ted Drozdowski © Amazon.co.uk

Not as "hard rockin'" as some of Tinsley's other releases but still a good Memphis influenced album of blues, rock, and Georgia soul, with a hint of bluegrass and country. Buy Tinsley's terrific "Cool on It" album [All tracks @ 256 Kbps: File size = 100 Mb]


1 Hell or High Water 4:59
2 Hooked 3:47
3 Mystery to Me 5:36
4 Love Comes Knockin' 2:21
5 Stuck in Love 6:38
6 Real Bad Way 4:00
7 All Rumors Are True 4:11
8 All I Can Do 4:08
9 Love Me by Phone 5:21
10 Feelin' No Pain 8:03
11 Ten Year Day 4:39
12 Set Love Free 3:00

All songs composed by Tinsley Ellis


Tinsley Ellis - Guitar, Vocals
Kenny Gilgore - Guitar
Phillip "Philzone" Skipper - Bass
Kevin McKendree - Piano, Organ
Scott Callison - Drums
Donna Hopkins - Background Vocals


A hard-rocking, high-voltage blues guitarist most often compared to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Tinsley Ellis is hardly one of the legions of imitators that comparison might imply. Schooled in a variety of Southern musical styles, Ellis draws not only from fiery Vaughan-style blues-rock, but also Texas bluesmen like Freddie King and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, the soulful blues of B.B. King, the funky grit of Memphis soul, and numerous other electric bluesmen. Ellis has been praised in many quarters for the relentless, storming intensity of his sound, and criticized in others for his relative lack of pacing and dynamic contrast (he's also been dubbed a much stronger guitarist than vocalist). Yet no matter which side of the fence one falls on, it's generally acknowledged that Ellis remains a formidable instrumentalist and a genuine student of the blues. Tinsley Ellis was born in Atlanta in 1957, and spent most of his childhood in southern Florida. He began playing guitar in elementary school, first discovering the blues through the flagship bands of the British blues boom: John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, the Peter Green-led Fleetwood Mac, the Yardbirds, the Rolling Stones, and so on. He soon moved on to a wide variety of original sources, becoming especially fond of B.B. King and Freddie King. After high school, Ellis moved back to Atlanta in 1975 to attend Emory University, and soon found work on the local music scene, joining a bar band called the Alley Cats (which also featured future Fabulous Thunderbird Preston Hubbard). In 1981, Ellis co-founded the Heartfixers with singer/harmonica player Chicago Bob Nelson, and they recorded an eponymous debut album for the tiny Southland imprint. They soon signed with the slightly larger Landslide and issued Live at the Moon Shadow in 1983, by which point they were one of the most popular live blues acts in the South. However, Nelson left the group shortly after the album's release, and Ellis took over lead vocal chores. The Heartfixers' first project in their new incarnation was backing up blues shouter Nappy Brown on his well-received 1984 comeback album Tore Up. Ellis debuted his vocals on record on the Heartfixers' 1986 LP Cool on It, which brought him to the attention of Alligator Records. Ellis left the Heartfixers to sign with Alligator as a solo artist in 1988, and they picked up his solo debut Georgia Blue for distribution. The album helped make Ellis a fixture on the blues circuit, and he toured heavily behind it, establishing a hard-working pattern he would follow for most of his career. The follow-up, Fanning the Flames, appeared in 1989 and explored similar territory. Released in 1992, Trouble Time helped land Ellis on album rock radio thanks to the track "Highwayman," but it was 1994's Storm Warning that really broke Ellis to a wider blues-rock audience, earning more media attention than any of his previous recordings; additionally, guitar prodigy Jonny Lang later covered Ellis' "A Quitter Never Wins" on Lie to Me. For 1997's Fire It Up, Ellis worked with legendary blues-rock producer Tom Dowd (the Allman Brothers, Derek & the Dominos), as well as Booker T. & the MG's bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn. Ellis subsequently left Alligator and signed with Capricorn; unfortunately, shortly after the release of 2000's Kingpin, Capricorn went bankrupt, leaving the album high and dry. Still, Ellis soon caught on with Telarc, releasing his initial disc Hell or High Water on the label in 2002, followed by The Hard Way in 2004. One year later, Ellis was back with Alligator, putting out the live set Live! Highwayman and 2007's Moment of Truth, the first studio album to contain original material since Hell or High Water. Ellis toured relentlessly behind the album, and re-entered the studio in early 2009. Speak No Evil was issued in October of that year. Steve Huey © 2012 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/tinsley-ellis-p339/biography


A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w is aoofc

Anonymous said...

thank you for tinsley



A.O.O.F.C said...

No probs. Thanks for visiting...P