This review was originally posted on the first Toorak Times web site where publications ceased on that site in March 2017. The old site will be permanently closed in 2020 and these reviews are being re-published in order to preserve them on the current Toorak Times/Tagg site.
Cream Of The Crate Reviews 1 to 50 were vinyl album reviews. The following fifty reviews (51 - 100) were originally marked as CD Reviews 1 - 50 and this numbering has been kept to keep consistency with the published CD reviews.
This is number thirty five in the series of retro-reviews of Cd albums in my collection.
The series is called, “Cream of The Crate (CD’s)”, and they represent CD albums that I believe are of significant musical value, either because of their rarity, because they represent the best of a style or styles of music or because there is something unique about the group or the music.
This is a single Cd release that actually stands out for at least two reasons. Firstly it’s by an Australian artist of some repute, next he is a brilliant guitarist and yet, he receives little recognition inside Australia.
This single CD by West Australian guitarist Dave Hole is simply titled “The Plumber“.
It was released on the Festival records label in 1992. Its code is D 30911. The Cd has a total of 12 tracks and is released under license from Alligator records..
In what I hope isn’t becoming a predictable “moan and groan” feature of my reviews I can’t go past commenting on the liner notes that accompany this CD.
I was “fronted” a friend at a recent gathering of industry people in Melbourne and my friend commented, had I forgotten that most vinyl LP’s largely gave little or no relevant info on the artist, so how come I was so scathing in my CD reviews?
The answer is fairly straightforward and indeed, simple!
We, the buying punter, didn’t know better back then. We accepted what the record companies gave. To which he replied, well, maybe that’s still the case!
He might be right, but as they used to say in the Six Million Dollar Man, “we have the technology, we have the way”, but it seems as though the producers or at least the companies producing the CD’s, don’t have the will!
Look, its a simple double sided sheet, folded into four. So what you get with “The Plumber“, is a picture of Dave, that features as the CD cover, a rear picture, a quarter sheet on the personnel, four quarter sheet faces of the song lyrics and one quarter sheet face of liner notes – written Jas Obrecht from Guitar Player Magazine.
Maybe I expect too much and this is enough for most people. I would have liked even a simple bio on Dave, and a little on the background of the muso’s who accompany him. What I will say is, that it is not the worse effort any means.
As I eluded to earlier, Dave Hole has largely been unknown in his own country. That is not to say that he is totally unknown, although he has appeared to have been a little quieter in recent years.
If you search for reviews on his music they will more than likely come from overseas where his talent for playing guitar is far more known and appreciated.
The classic example is the use of Joe Obrecht, and that is no means a criticism of Joe’s notes, but it is a reflection that we still search overseas for the promotion of our talent!
For those readers who have little or no knowledge about Dave Hole, here is a brief bio.
He was born David Robert Hole in March of 1948 and was bought to Australia (Perth) his folks in 1952. At the young age of six, he was exposed to Muddy Waters and surprisingly, for a kid that young, was entranced.
At the age of twelve he got his first guitar and due to a lack of teachers, became self-taught, focusing upon the playing styles of Skip James and Blind Lemon Jefferson, later becoming taken guitar luminaries such as Hendrix and Clapton.
Dave Hole is tight handed, but plays guitar left-handed due to breaking a finger playing football.
In 1965 Hole formed his first group, Broken Habits. Wikipedia says of Dave Hole, “In 1968 Hole joined The Beaten Tracks, a pop, blues, R&B band formed in early 1967 with Ace Follington on drums, Warren Morgan on keyboards and vocals, Ross Partington on lead vocals and Murray Wilkins on bass guitar.
They played covers of The Beatles, Paul Butterfield, Motown and Vanilla Fudge material. The group won the 1968 Perth heat of the national Hoadley’s Battle of the Sounds and travelled to Melbourne for the final.
They also toured the eastern states before Hole returned to Perth late that year to continue his university studies. He was replaced Phil Manning (ex-Bay City Union, Laurie Allen Revue) on guitar and lead vocals – The Beaten Tracks evolved into Chain.“
Dave Hole formed and played in many bands over the years. A copy of his fabulous 1990 album “Short Fuse Blues” found its way into the hands of of Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer who signed Hole up as the first non-US-based artist of their 26-year history.
This led to the 1992 release Alligator of, The Plumber!
1991 “Short Fuse Blues”
1992 “The Plumber”
1993 “Working Overtime”
1995 “Steel On Steel”
1996 “Whole Lotta Blues”
1997 “Ticket To Chicago”
1999 “Under The Spell
2001 “Outside Looking In”
2003 “The Live One”
2007 “Rough Diamond”
1995 “Huh – Blues Issue Special” (1 track)
1996 “Masters of Blues” – A Tribute to Elmore James” (1 track – Icehouse Records)
1996 “The Alligator Records 25th. Anniversary Collection” (1 track – Alligator Records)
1997 “The Great Guitarists Vol.1 – A Celebration of Blues” (1 track – Rounder Records)
1998 “Guitar Gurus” (1 track – Sony)
1998 “Hound Dog Taylor – A Tribute” (1 track – Alligator Records)
1998 “No. 1 Blues Album” (1 track – Polygram)
2001 “The Alligator Records 30th Anniversary Collection” (1 track – Alligator Records)
2002 “The No1 Blues Album” (1 track – Polygram)
2003 “Crucial Guitar Blues” (1 track – Alligator Records)
2006 “Alligator Records 35 X 35” (1 track – Alligator Records)
2007 “Crucial Slide Guitar Blues” (1 track – Alligator Records)
According to his official web site – he has released nothing since 2007!
The Plumber: Track Listing
1. The Plumber
2. You Don’t Have To Be Pretty to Sing The Blues
3. Do What you Do
4. Is It True? (Part 1)
5. Three Days out
6. Sign Me Up
7. Me And My Guitar
8. New way to Live
9. Is It True? (Part 2)
10. Wrecking Yard
11. North West Blues
Accompanying Dave, on this CD is John Wilson (bass and, keyboards on “Is It True – Part 2“), Ron Parker (Drums), Gary Ridge (additional percussion) and Bob Patient (Keyboards)
Let’s kick off with Track # 2 – You Don’t Have To be Pretty To Sing The Blues.
This is a great track and the title tells it as it is. Dave plays homage to a myriad of great blues singers naming them while playing some really hot blues guitar.
Most writers might be fearful if writing a track that lists the greatest Blues players, for fear of missing someone, and of course, unless it was an unwieldy and very lengthy track, it’s an almost impossible task.
Dave tackles it and does a most excellent job.
The music is powerful and he has that knack of making his music inviting to listen to, and too dance to. The song reminds us that in places like Hollywood, the people are “nice” and “all they all look good“.
But then he goes on to sing, “Life is easy for a good looking few, but you don’t have to be pretty, to sing the Blues.” Four bars of guitar, and in comes the “kick” drum, and, kick it does! We are grabbed literally the balls, and Dave is not going to let go!
He not only acknowledges some of the greatest blues players from the USA (as well as the UK), he appropriately names some great Aussie talent as well, those being Matt Taylor, Ivan Zar and Steve Tallis.
John Lee Hooker sings the Blues
Hubert Sumlin sings the Blues
Buddy Guy sings the Blues
Hound Dog Taylor, Matt Taylor, Koko Taylor
Albert Collins sings the Blues
Eric Clapton sings the Blues
Steve Tallis sings the Blues
B.B. King, Freddie King, Albert king
Johnny Winter sings the Blues
Junior Wells sings the Blues
Ivan Zar sings the Blues
Robert Johnson, Willie Johnson, Jimmy Johnson
Life is easy for a good looking dude
But you don’t have to be pretty to sing the Blues
You Don’t Have To be Pretty To Sing The Blues
Track # 4 is, “Is It True“, and a rockin’ rollickin’ good track it is as well.
The slide guitar is fantastic and the band puts out a solid backing that sets the scene for a great party dance track.
Track # 9 is, “Is It true – part 2“. This is not simply an extension of track 4, it is so very, very different – so different it may as well be a totally different track.
You will NOT be disappointed!
Is It True (parts 1 & 2 spliced together)
While on Dave Hole’s blues pedigree, if Is It true – part 2 is a great example of his electric blues style, then track # 7 – Me And My Guitar is a track with demonstrates his acoustic/acoustic bottle neck style, while telling HIS own story.
The “can white men sing the blues” argument is, in my mind, a futile and pointless argument.
There are many, many examples of fantastic blues played folk in white skin. They may not sound like the black blues singers, but its not the colour of your skin that determines the blues, and Dave Hole reinforces this.
Me and My Guitar
So to the final track, track # 12 – Boogaloo.
What a track to bring an album to an end. This demonstrates Dave Hole’s electric blues style and his mastery of the “Wah pedal”, so magnificently tamed his guitar idol, Jimmy Hendrix.
A solid drum piece, tight bass, excellent lyrics and a shit-kicking beat tied up in a ribbon of classy guitar playing and well?
We all want to do the “Boogaloo“!
Dave Hole is certainly deserving more recognition than he gets. His music tells the story.
This IS a man who can not just play guitar (hell, there are a thousand plus guitar players out there!), he plays it with a unique skill and at the same time real passion.
This is a terrific album, it certainly stands up against Short Fuse Blues, which in itself is a mighty album.
Personally, I would say that Hole has not produced a “dud” album, and that’s something many artists can’t say.
The album is available on Ebay for between $10.00 and $15.00.
Once again I headed for Youtube and was most disappointed to find very few live clips of this man playing. Sadly the very best clip (Short Fuse Blues) had a most annoying click throughout the track Fortunately there was a good clip of Short Fuse Blues – part 2, and a brilliant version of “Purple haze” (also from the Short fuse Blues album). Finally a superb version of “Take Me To Chicago”!
Short Fuse Blues – Part 2
Take Me To Chicago
Previous Cream of The Crate Albums:
To view/listen the first 50 vinyl album reviews just click the image below –
Click to open the following CD reviews:
#21. 2nu – Ponderous