IMAGES OF DOUG DEMING BY KURT SWANSON
If the efforts of Doug Deming don't garner him widespread attention and glowing reviews, there's something seriously amiss in the music industry, much more than anyone thinks. Hailing from Detroit's Motor City area with a guitar in his hands, the 52 minutes of swinging jump blues, gritty shuffles, and driving boogies parlay plenty of evidence to his talent. Perhaps one of the most impressive features of this CD is that each of the dozen tracks are originals, which in itself is a rarity considering the number of bands determined to mine the same territory, most showing the same results that come from beating a dead horse. From the opening deft licks that propel Goodbye Baby, Deming employs all the necessary ingredients to deliver a solid and rewarding blues album; taste, tone, restraint, timing, and phrasing with his guitar plus worthy vocals, all of which should mark him as an up-and-comer. The storming Chicago thrust of Bad For You and the lowdown Chess-era approach of Let Me Be both find Greg "Fingers" Taylor working some rasping harp licks to great effect, but the regular slot held by Brian Miller isn't in danger as he offers his own nasty-toned solos, a potent chromatic grip in Make It Last and the throbbing jungle roll of HDF. Deming and Miller plow through a fiery double shuffle in Mr. Blues as Dale Jennings and Don Gruendler hold rhythm chores steady while adding plenty of dynamics when things build to fever pitch, while on the brooding T-Bone Walker-ish It's A Crime, the groove slows to a crawl allowing Deming plenty of room to toss a multitude of Texan guitar licks about with no grandstanding, and once the fuse is lit, he rises to the occasion with brilliant bends and double stops searing with thick tone. You Don't Even Care combines spellbinding guitar and harp chops behind a breakneck pace and Rick Holmstrom stops in playing tandem guitar lines for the closing title track, also featuring Steve Mugalian's percussive help. Denny Freeman, an elder statesman from Texas, handles piano duties for close to half of the tracks and he blends so well it's more like he's a regular as opposed to a special guest and Chris Codish's organ adds distinctly to a handful.
Doug Deming seems to be more of a throwback to a bygone era than a purveyor of modern blues in the 21st century and the recording reeks of 1950's Chicago Blues regardless of the liner notes saying it was tracked in California. While he's not yet a smoldering vocalist, he knows his limits and range and manages to stick comfortably within the confines of those areas, another sign of maturity. It's easy to understand why Doug Deming has worked with Johnny Dyer, Lazy Lester, Johnny 'Yard Dog' Jones and others, he's got the goods to go the distance.~ Craig Ruskey