Bullfrog Brown – Mother River Delta + Twelve Live Warthogs

{mosimage}The most famous Estonian blues band strikes powerfully back in 2008 with two new and superb albums.

There have been significance changes in the structure of Bullfrog Brown, with the departure of long-time harp player Üllar Kärt at the end of 200, and the band now settled as a duo composed by Alar Kriisa on vocals and Andres Roots on guitar, but the essence remains the same, if not better, leaving the two remaining members more freedom to jam and join forces with other musicians such as British harpist Steve Lury or the Scottish Dave Arcari. 

The young talented Estonian bluesmen feature a new studio album: Mother River Delta. Condensed in less than 20 minutes of total playing time, Alar and Andres go straight to business playing raw Delta Blues. No time here for excessive ornamentation in the sound. The guys know what they want to deliver, and they do it fast: Alar´s broken voice sounds like if he was just born to sing Blues, and Andres pushes firmly mastering the strings of the guitar.  These are not recently composed songs; actually the excellent introductory Nobody the Skull dates back to 1996 and the rest of songs have been composed at different years during the last decade. The follow-up track, Special Rider, has a catchy wiping guitar riff that surely makes you move your feet and this leads to 30, my favourite track of the album, with acid lyrics and a perfect graduation of the musical tempo.

The album decreases a bit in intensity during its second part, but the ending Rain definitely puts the cherry on top of the cake creating a relaxed musical atmosphere that transports your instantly to the Mississippi delta. The message transmitted by the album seems clear; while with their previous Snakes and Devils, details aimed at trying to delight bigger audiences, this time the guys just want to show that they do not give a damn about playing other thing that what they really love to, Delta Blues with roots (and with guts). Mother River Delta was released last April while the band hit the stages of London, but if you do not have it yet, do not waste your time waiting for 2009 to get one copy! 

Added to the previous one, and just released in the market, you also have the chance to listen to the new official live bootleg of the Bullfrog: Twelve Live Warthogs. It combines 6 tracks recorded on June 26th 2008 at Tampere Maja (Tartu) with 6 more recorded during their show on December 13th 2007 at Trehv (Tartu). The record compiles a great collection of songs that give you a good idea of how they sound live, with that tiny shy guy that Alar is totally transformed when holding the micro, like if he would be the Dr Jekyll/Mr Hide of the Estonian blues scene. Great anthems of the band like Build me a Statue, Phantom Menace or Snakes Were Gettin’ are compulsorily included there, sounding better than ever, and as a special surprise the final track includes the improvised song: Papa Wolf. 

Who said blues is dead? Bullfrog Brown’s music just leads you to hold a good bottle of whisky and think about an old lost love. In the end it is all about the Blues.    

Rating 4/5