Peter Karp is a brilliant singer-guitarist, who was raised equally among the swamps of New Jersey and the trailer parks of south Alabama, giving him a unique North/South look at life, and, especially, his take on the blues. He’s released albums on Blind Pig both as a solo artist and as part of a duo with Sue Foley. His latest is “The Arson’s Match,” which was recorded live at New York’s famed Bottom Line, and contains material from Karp’s earliest works, which were never released nationally. The really cool thing about these ten originals is the fact that Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor plays throughout this disc. Peter and Mick are joined by Jim Ehinger on keyboards, Daniel Pagdon on bass, Paul Unsworth on drums, and Dennis Gruenling on the harp.
The fellows jump right into ther boogie, with a slide-and-harp-fueled ride thru Elmore James’ Delta with the scorching title cut, where “The Arson’s Match took everything I had!” Another good blast of boogie blues has Mick offering up a fine solo on “Y’all Be Lookin,” for everything else, but, as for Peter, “I’ll be looking for love!” A minor-key blues tale of a man doomed to always be a ne’er-do-well feels as if he is “Rolling On A Log, about to fall off.” Dennis turns in some fine work on the big ol’ chromatic, too.
Peter has some good ballads on this one, too, especially on the ode to a lover to whom he vows to “follow you down” no matter what, “I’m Not Giving Up.” And, “The Turning Point” is a Dylanesque detail of the disintegration of a relationship and Peter’s efforts to repair it and regain some measure of redemption.
Peter’s uncanny way of turning a lyric led to our two favorites. A Chicago-blues-ish boogie takes place where “it’s enough to make poor Jesus feel mortal,” down at “The Nietsche Lounge.” And a humorous look at a woman who’s “got no style and got no grace,” but Peter loves “Your Prettyness.” This one has Dave Keyes on piano, gettin’ in some definite “Longhair-ed” New Orleans-styled licks!
Peter Karp and Mick Taylor make a mighty powerful combo. And, good blues is best served up live, which makes “The Arson’s Match” a real barn burner! Peter’s benevolent side shows thru, too, as 100% of the proceeds from this album goes to ovarian cancer research. Kudos to you, Peter! Until next time…
– Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.
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