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EGYPT Blues Kerosene Staple Records (2010)


This album is an absolute delight and arguably the album The Groundhogs never made! If you love intense early 70's style rock with a bluesy source, then look no further than 'Blues Kerosene'. For this is an album that features 10 tracks of imposing rockaboogie that recalls the golden days of Classic rock.

Egypt was always a good band and this album proves they've lost none of their power and vitality down the years. The band has for years been a recruiting post for Tony McPhee's Groundhogs - with all three members at one time or another passing through the ranks - and as 'Blues Kerosene' superbly suggest, they employ the same blues/rock crossover that made the Groundhogs such an exciting proposition down the decades.

Egypt deliver dark brooding rock/blues in a power trio format with vocals on the heavy side Redbone's 'Witch Queen of New Orleans'. Come to think of it that would be a great cover for them to incorporate into their set.

As it is album kicks of with a killer track as either Eric Chipulina applies his grown to JL Hooker's 'Ride Till You Die' is a perfect example of cutting edge rock derived from essential blues roots. Chipulina carried over his gruff vocals into the heavy duty riff led 'Back To the Pack' which would surely appeal to any self respecting Bad Company or Foghat fan.

Indeed you could pigeon hole much of this album as being essential dirt sounding rock/blues from the 70's. Whereas Groundhogs maestro McPhee used a locker full of killer riffs, Egypt apply a slightly broader scope to their approach, slipping into 'Viola Lee Blues', a down-home bottleneck led trad blues before revisiting some bone crunching early Zeppelin style rock/blues material on 'Lazy Maisie'. Eric's big toned guitar lines smoulder with intent, before a guv'nor McPhee style guitar mangle.

Half way through the album I was so caught up with the guitar playing, I almost missed the band slip surreptitiously into a cover of the Hogs 'Garden. Hell, if you are going to evoke a guitar legend you might as well go to the source. And what a joy to be able to decipher the lyrics at last, sorry Tone!

For a band whose rock solid gigs used to sometimes cross over the thin dividing line between hard rock and simply being too loud, there's real taste, restraint and balance to be found on the 2 min 36 seconds of wonderful bottle neck interlude on the phonetically titled 'Fu Man Chew'. And Egypt have the wherewithal to pay attention to their sequencing as some glorious blood curdling wah wah follows on the mundanely titled but pile driven southern rocker 'Waiting For the 353'.

And if you can overlook the rather obvious choice of 'Walking Blues' - albeit it features some fine slide playing from Eric - you will be belatedly rewarded by another killer laden rocker, the suitable titled 'Rocking the Room'.

Well written and produced, superbly conceived with a lovely retro tinge, 'Blues Kerosene' is easily Egypt best album and one you should seek out and despite my grumbles, play at maximum volume


Review by Pete Feenstra

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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