Hailing from New Zealand, Oscar Ladell and Chris Armour are two young blues musicians on a recent rise. Oscar was born in The United States and moved to the South Pacific country in his early years. Leo Ladell, his father, is an accomplished blues musician that, at some point, shared the stage with the likes of Pinetop Perkins and Bo Diddley. Oscar is following his footsteps gracefully, having already released two strong albums (Gone Away and Love & Revolution). Chris Armour is a talented guitar player and teacher as well as a force to be reckoned with in the national blues circuit. He also collaborated and was mentored by acclaimed guitarist Darren Watson. This new album of theirs, Right Kinda Wrong (released on July 15), has Ladell handling harmonica and vocals and sharing guitar duties with Armour. The bass player is Steve Moodie, the drummer is Richard Te One. Keyboards are played by Michael Crawford and Dayle Jellyman. The album, as Ladell states, is dedicated to Richard’s father, Richard Te One Senior, who sadly passed away just before the record’s release. With these important pieces of information in mind, let us dive deep into the music.
Regarding songwriting and production, the release is inspired by the ‘50s and ‘60s classic blues recordings by labels such as Chess and Cobra. This is why you should not expect anything fancy here. The songs are short and the approach is quite unpretentious and formulaic. With that being said, I must declare that raw, straightforward music played with passion and reason (something this album is definitely not short of) will always be better than complex pieces that lack either emotion or direction. The simplicity of this record, perhaps, is its greatest asset.
Comprised of nine originals, the album opens with “Stop Telling Lies”, a sweet blues number that displays Ladell and Armour’s business card. The young American-born singer presents us with his distinctive and formidable tone while Armour’s lead guitar work supplies the additional excitement. The song that follows, “Slow Burning Love”, is an emotional, passion-packed slow-blues cut. Possibly, the best vocal performance on the album as well as a great drinking song. “Fine Lovely Lover”, which has Ladell on lead guitar, is a light-hearted, cut and dried, fun number. Another basic, but satisfactory output. “Blues For The Hopeless” has Ladell on lead guitar and Armour on slide. It’s an instrumental piece on which the six-string duo trade licks and exchange solos. A solid piece of guitar work.
Right Kinda Wrong is what some call simple but effective. It delivers its message of straight-to-the-point classic blues music. Something that, in my opinion, will always be welcome in this era of artificial music.
The Review: 7.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks –
– Stop Telling Lies
– Slow Burning Love
– Fine Lovely Love
– Blues For The Hopeless
The Big Hit
– Slow Burning Love