Michael Hill Blues Mob
“Suite: Larger than Life”

The departure of NY’s own, Michael Hill from Alligator Records seems to have added creative breath to Michael’s Blues Mob, because this release is monstrous!  From the opening notes of the high energy, “Heat on the Highway” to the optimistic final track, “Blessings” this album is a complete winner!

The band’s vocal prowess from the Mob is immediately evident on the opening, “Heat on the Highway”.  It’s pedal to the metal, ala “The Doors” (keep your eyes on the road and your hands behind the wheel) mode, and Michael’s soaring guitar work has the potential of having a State Trouper issue him a speeding ticket!  The super quick changes and jazz chords on, “Haunted” offer great guitar overdubs, more fine vocals, and is a dynamite crafted song by Mr. Hill. “Terrible Twos” features great B3 and keyboard work from E.J. Sarpe, more cutting guitar, and has a beautiful ending segment.  Stunning & vivid lyrics about Thomas Jefferson’s affair with his young slave, issues countless chord changes, and is a chilling story, making “Monticello Nights” a very memorable performance!  You will both smile and blush on the hilarious, “Under Cover”, just listen to the lyrics.  The great groove and lyrics on, “Larger Than Life” is about money, and it’s so soulful & warm, and painfully true. Listen to Michael rip through P-Funk’s/George Clinton’s, “Cosmic Slop”. The jazzy, “Millie Jackson Love” is a pleasant and welcome addition to this fine disc.  “Big Top Shuffle” features young Seth Hill (Michael’s son?) during the intro, and kicks into overdrive, with a 007 like interlude of, “The Spy Who Loves Me” is one of this albums many great guitar solo performances! The album’s bluesiest electric track, “Partner in Crime” fully entertains with fun lyrics about how male/female opposites attract, and than Michael really gets on down, and delivers the goods.  “Bundle of Joy” is a traditional acoustic duo of harp (David Barnes), and guitar, is a witty tale about a ladies biological clock ticking.  The disc closes in a calypso/African kind of mood on, “Blessings”, with optimistic thoughts and lyrics.  I loved Michael’s lyrical line of, “Let Nobody Take Your Freedom Away!”  By the sounds of Michael’s vocal delivery and performance throughout this whole recording, no one has taken Michael’s freedom anywhere!

This is a Great recording!  Future Blues?  Perhaps.  But definitely a serious outing by one of our local good guys, Michael Hill.  It’s all here folks, top notch musicianship, superb song writing, tremendous vocals, outstanding production, and to top it off, the sound on this disc is one of the highest audiophile blues recording I have ever heard!

Should you go out and buy, Michael Hill, Blues Mob’s, “Suite:  Larger Than Life”? Absolutely!!!

Happy listening,

Bob Putignano