Shake Em on Down
Created as a way to preserve and respect the great music of the British Blues Boom era of the Sixties, Mark Doyle & The Maniacs is the brainchild of guitarist/producer Mark Doyle. Signed to RCA in the early '70s with his first band, Jukin' Bone (who played their own brand of fiery, Anglophilic blues rock), Mark has gone on to record and tour with artists as varied as Meat Loaf, Bryan Adams, Judy Collins, Leo Sayer, and Hall & Oates. A visit to the Discography page on his website details the 65 albums that Mark has been involved in. In describing the impetus for making the record, Mark explains: "Old heroes die hard, and these were mine back when I was a teenager and first started playing the electric guitar. I'm sure Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Kim Simmonds had their own heroes - "authentic" blues men like B. B., Albert, and Freddie King, Otis Rush, Hubert Sumlin and Buddy Guy, but I did not yet know of them, and only discovered them translated and morphed through the brilliant playing of those four English kids." None of this would mean anything without a killer, hand-picked band to lay the music down "just as those guys had to do it: live in the studio." In describing his "posse of energetic, passionate and similarly reverent bandmates", Doyle says: "I couldn't have surrounded myself with a better band. Jack "Penetrator" Lipton handles the punk snarl of those "garage blues" days better than anybody I know; Terry Quill rose to the occasion when I called him and asked him to dust off his old harps, that I was looking for Brian Jones and Keith Relf rather than Paul Butterfield. Less of a surprise is Terry's always great guitar playing (he's in the right speaker, plays the second solos on #7 & 8, and does all the wah and slide stuff.) Michael P. Ryan shares the lead vocals with Jack, and plays excellent bass throughout. Younger than the rest of us, I really enjoyed watching him discover the British Blues from our era. And then there's the incomparable Frank DeFonda, who really is the engine that propels all of this along. You can tell how much the music resonates with him. All in all, they're a bunch of Maniacs! And kudos to Jocko, the "6th Maniac", for immersing himself in the whole ethos of the original versions and bringing his engineering and mixing chops to the table." So take a wild ride that starts with Them's "Mystic Eyes" and passes through The Yardbirds, Fleetwood Mac, Savoy Brown, and John Mayall, ending with Robin Trower (technically past the era, but evoking it nonetheless.) Along the way there is one original song by Mark and his old Jukin' Bone bandmates George Egosarian and Joe Whiting, "New Set of Blues," which is meant to conjure up the spirit of the era. Turn it up and Shake 'Em On Down!
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