The facsimile of the famous Sam The Record Man, fluorescent Yonge Street sign on the cover of Downchild’s latest record, “Can You Hear The Music” proudly states “Live Blues Since 1969”
And just like that fabled Energizer Bunny, Downchild’s Donnie Walsh just keeps rolling along with his prodigious outlay of material, this marking his 32ndh recording. With Chuck Jackson still assuming the vocal spotlight, Walsh continues with his trademark Downchild sound of blues guitar licks overladen by Michael Fonfara’s distinctive Hammond Organ and spiced by tasty horn arrangements courtesy of saxophonist Pat Carey.
In all Downchild records, it’s the lead vocalist who takes centre stage, and following in the footsteps as such notables as Tony Flaim and Hock Walsh, Jackson continues to inject his own distinctive vocal print on the recording, be it the lively “Can You Hear The Music” opener with its familiar “Flip Flop And Fly” arrangement or the slow vocal burn of `My Mississippi Queen’ and `Blue Moon Blues’. Yet through the entire record, Walsh acts as the band’s quarterback producing and writing all the songs as well as firing up arrangements like “I’m Always Here For You’ or the up-tempo `Fasten Your Safety Belt” with his own distinctive guitar leads or infectious harmonica solos.
Add to this Fonfara’s all-important Hammond Organ styling and the tasty horn licks of Pat Carey (sax), Peter Jeffery (trumpet) and the air-tight rhythm section of drummer Mike Fitzpatrick and bassist Gary Kendall and you have a revitalized Downchild outfit’s whose new record should be warmly greeted by all ages of blues enthusiasts.
Download: ‘Can You Hear The Music’, `Blue Moon Blues’ `Fasten Your Seat Belt