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Mike Onesko Band: Re-covered

Guitar aficionados will already be well acquainted with six-string supremo Mike Onesko through his Guitar Army and work with the Blindside Blues Band. In short this is a man known as a heavy blues rock guitar specialist and quite rightly so. Another specialty of the blues rock genre is the covers album, and so it's maybe fitting that Onesko's first outing for the independent label Jib Machine Records, is one such effort. With the guitar man bringing together some of the cornerstones of the six-string catalogue with a few less expected selections, while everything here has been thoroughly Onesko'd, the ten tracks presented are reasonably diverse.

Things kick off in grin inducingly expected fashion, as the opening pairing of Robin Trower's classic Bridge Of Sighs album stay united, "Day Of The Eagle" an upbeat kick in the pants that sets the scene well, "Bridge Of Sighs" remaining faithful, if slightly beefier in this setting, as Onesko wrings all the emotion from both his faithful frets and his voice. The guitarist being an honest singer who puts his heart and soul into his delivery, even if he'll never be blessed with the widest range. On this opening pair and the likes of Cream's "SWLABR" his attack works a treat as does the spiralling guitar smack. While if any song was made for this environment then it's undoubtedly "Hey Joe", the version here unsurprisingly inspired by the definitive Jimi Hendrix take on the cut. Free's "Wishing Well" also shows up quite superbly the Kossoff licks stretched even further than the original dares to just as Steppenwolf's "Sookie Sookie" pulsates in all the right places. However, it has to be said that why you really have to doff your cap to Re-covered is that it isn't just satisfied to roll out these guitar classics, a few less obvious selections also given the Onesko treatment.

Drummer Jeff Martin shows up to add his sticksmithery and vocals to Zeppelin's "No Quarter" in quite enigmatic fashion, this song's slow build re-arranged almost into something else entirely. Although Arthur Brown's "Fire" doesn't fare quite so well, the outlandishness of the original never quite captured in what turns out to be a vocally polite excursion, where the staccato riff doesn't bite as deep as you'd like it to. Taking on The Beatles in any circumstances is a brave move and while this thoroughly toughened reimagining of "Eleanor Rigby" is enjoyable enough, it maybe feels a little too matter of fact in this less idiosyncratic setting. However when Onesko chooses to reinterpret The Motels "Only The Lonely" with Angelica Onesko on vocals and Paul Wolf Christianson providing saxophone, the shimmering imagery it conveys is rather spine-tingling; the least guitar oriented song on Re-covered one of its genuine highlights.

With this ten track collection Mike Onesko has dared to be a little different and fans of his undeniably captivating fret-trickery will find much to their delight, even if the arrangements are, in general, pleasingly song based. That a couple of the more left-field cuts don't quite reach the impressively high standard attained elsewhere, is easily forgiven. Especially when you get thoroughly lost in what is an otherwise excellent example of American hard rocking blues wizardry.

Track Listing
1. Day of the Eagle
2. Bridge of Sighs
3. Sookie Sookie
4. Fire
5. Eleanor Rigby
6. Only the Lonely
7. Swlabr
8. Hey Joe
9. Wishing Well
10. No Quarter

Added: October 21st 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Job Machine Records
Hits: 2391
Language: english

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