After seven house-rocking albums for Alligator, Dave Hole moves to the Blind Pig label–America's other established blues indie–for this solid, if somewhat predictable, release. In certain respects, the journeyman Australian slide guitarist is comparable to stalwarts such as George Thorogood, since his discs are nearly interchangeable yet none disappoint. Both artists also rely heavily on well-chosen covers. The slide demon taps into tracks from obvious inspirations such as Elmore James, Slim Harpo, and Robert Johnson, along with rearranged tunes written by the far less obvious likes of Willy Deville ("White Trash Girl"), Ivory Joe Hunter ("Since I Met You Baby"), and even Buddy Holly ("Think It Over"). But Hole's originals are plenty sturdy, as demonstrated by the opening riff-rocker "Rough Diamond Child" and the atypically tender ballad "Yours for a Song." Still, it's the sizzling solos that drive these tunes, and Hole's scorching tone–something like a mix of James and Rory Gallagher–torches everything it touches.
With Under the Spell, Australian guitarist Dave Hole and his veteran backup band manage to lasso in all of the energy from their live concerts, while under the roof of a usually antiseptic recording studio environment. All but three of the 12 tracks were written by Hole and rank among his best work to date. Rocking through "Demolition Man" and delivering a sweet soul-blues ballad with "Don't Say Goodbye," Hole once again expresses his musical diversity with a flair. He manages to remain a true original while still feeding off of his major influences – people like the Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters, the Animals, Howlin' Wolf, and Muddy Waters. "Holding Pattern" rocks with a Stevie Ray Vaughan feel, and Hole's passionate vocals are a real treat on his cover of John Lee Hooker's "Run With Me".
Slide guitarist Dave Hole kicks up a fun ruckus on Ticket to Chicago, his fourth album for Alligator Records. This native of Perth (Australia), the Chicago blues label's first overseas signing, realizes for the first time his dream of playing with Chicago blues musicians – bassist Johnny B. Gayden (Albert Collins), pianist Tony Z (Larry McCray, Buddy Guy), and drummer Ray "Killer" Allison (Buddy Guy), along with (on several tracks) a horn section and harmonica (courtesy of Billy Branch). The opening "Out of Here" serves as the starter's pistol – Hole and company play too fast, too loud, and sound too rowdy on just about every one of these 14 songs (13 Hole originals and William Harris' "Bullfrog Blues," here dedicated by Hole to late blues-rock guitarist Rory Gallagher). In other words, Ticket to Chicago is a wonderfully high-spirited blues album, the kind to listen to when you're in the mood to go out and raise some hell but you're either too tired, too broke, or too ripped up to actually go out and do it.
Dave Hole's American debut album is a stunning display of slide guitar pyrotechnics. Hole runs through a dizzying array of licks and solos, pulling out a variety of different tones and textures from his guitar. He can play it straight and greasy, or spooky, tough and gritty, or subtle and melodic – his technique is quite impressive. Although the songs themselves are occasionally weak, Short Fuse Blues is essentially a guitar record, so the songs don't matter as much as the playing. And the playing is superb throughout.
David Robert "Dave" Hole is an Australian slide guitarist known for his style of playing rock and roll and blues music. In 1990 he issued Short Fuse Blues which brought him to the attention of United States label, Alligator Records. Two of his albums have appeared on Billboard Top Blues Albums, Steel on Steel (1995) peaked at No. 13 and Ticket to Chicago (1997) reached No. 15. His sixth album, Under the Spell, appeared in April 1999 and won "Best Blues & Roots Album" at the ARIA Music Awards of that year. According to Australian rock music historian, Ian McFarlane, Hole "is the most acclaimed blues guitarist Australia has ever produced … courtesy of his unorthodox slide guitar style, his rousing live shows and a series of hard-rocking, roadhouse blues albums … yet it took two decades of slogging around the Australian touring circuit before the local industry sat up and took notice"…
Dave McKenna made a remarkably piano solo debut in 1955 with the fifteen tunes he recorded for ABC Paramount (1-15). The remaining tracks on this compilation also come from a solo album, one he cut almost eight years later for the label Realm. Playing without a rhythm section, a key challenge for a jazz pianist, McKenna accomplished a recital of lasting value and pleasure. He plays with strength, individuality, fine beat and technique, and constant taste in all tempos. He is a wonderfully co-ordinated two-handed pianist.