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T-Bear & The Dukes - 'Time Is A Healer' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/81/67/42/T-Bear-The-Dukes-Time-Is-A-Healer-26-1520631848.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 09, 2018    
 
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A solid collection of songs delivered by a mature collective who know their way around the music.

Sweden is a country not regularly associated with modern Blues music, but that is certainly the case with when it comes to T-Bear & The Dukes. Numerology running amok with this release, this is the quartet's fourth album and their first in four years. With fours circling about, let's dive in 'Time Is A Healer' and see what it offers.

Firstly, the album is bookended with two instrumentals. The opener is a song titled 'Taranto' that's a dramatic yet laid-back Spaghetti Western-influenced affair in 6/8 time which pays homage to director Quentin Tarantino. The album's closer, 'Spanish Barfly', is a bouncy number featuring a Samba/Bossa Nova rhythm in duple metre. 'Cosmic Ride' is the second song in the album's sequence and is the first to give a true representation of what T-Bear & The Dukes are really all about. It will have you tapping your fingers or better yet, bobbing and swaying in time with this deeply groovy track. After a quiet moment with the title track, things get back underway once again with the thumping romp of 'The Time Has Come'. The majority of subsequent tracks feature a loose feel while always maintaining a strong rhythmic pocket.

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T-Bear's (real name Torbjörn Solberg) warm and sultry vocal timbre adds to the overall casual and carefree vibe of the music and contains elements of Jeff Healey, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Kenny Wayne Shephard. T-Bear's guitar tone is direct, warm and inviting. Emil Wachenfeldt proudly stakes his position behind the Hammond Organ with class. His contributions are represented in a balanced manner and he seems to choose his moments appropriately, giving each song the support it needs. When experiencing the album in headphones, the mix offers clear separation of every instrument in the stereo field. Although that might lend itself to slightly sterile sounding recording, it works here and gives the album a sonic clarity not usually associated with this style of music.

'Time Is A Healer' is a great representation of how ubiquitous the Blues has become around the world. That said, there is no sense debating the validity of the album because T-Bear & The Dukes deliver a no-frills, modern Blues album that succeeds in its mission. This is a solid collection of songs delivered by a mature collective who know their way around the music.

Brent Rusche

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