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Ivan Appelrouth - Blue and Instrumental! - EllerSoul Records
The CD package features a 1964 photo of guitarist Appelrouth with his grandmother. Appelrouth at 2½ was sporting a Beatles wig. Cute. His grandmother was playing what looks to be a Gretsch Chet Atkins model guitar. Beautiful.
Fans of blues guitar played classic-style and very well should rejoice over the man's early start.
The impetus for Blue and Instrumental!, Appelrouth's debut as a leader, was to record songs for possible placement in movies and television shows. The payoff for listeners is a 15-cut salute to players who influenced him, originals and a few covers including T-Bone Walker's Strolling With Bone, Albert Collins' Frosty and clarinetist Acker Bilk's Stranger on the Shore
Appelrouth's songs, recorded quickly with a cadre of accomplished players, complement those of the masters. Like his mentor, Duke Robillard, Appelrouth plays with taste, style and a polished sense of dynamics, moving easily between slide and straight-ahead guitar; tearing off hot leads when required, blending into the rhythm section during horn and keyboard solos.
Songs such as Booky's Boogie, Drivin' With Ivan and The Uptown Downtown Groove jump, swing and, yes, groove with no fat, no histrionics and no wasted motion.
JIM BEAL JR.