Blues Underground Network
Rod Piazza And The All Mighty Flyers "Almighty Dollar"
Consistently good has long been a way one could easily describe the career of Rod Piazza, especially with it now stretching into its fourth decade which has already culminated into an amazing output of 26 albums, with Rod as the featured artist, and over 20 albums as a guest artist. Starting with the The House of DBS "which stood for Dirty Blues Sound ", Rod Piazza and his band has been through numerous name changes, from the Dirty Blues Band, the name they changed to when they got their first record deal, to Bacon Fat, Rod Piazza, Chicago Flying Saucer Band, Mighty Flyers, back to Rod Piazza, and then in the early 90's they took the name Rod Piazza And The Mighty Flyers, a name that did not change until their 2007 and 2009 releases (Thrillville & Soul Monster), when the bands name became Rod Piazza And The All Mighty Flyers Blues Quartet. Now with their 2011 release called "Almighty Dollar", they have once again changed their name to Rod Piazza And The All Mighty Flyers.
Throughout his illustrious career, Rod Piazza and his band has played a mix of West Coast Swing, Boogie-Woogie, R&B and Chicago Blues style of music and in doing so has garnered many accolades and awards along the way, with the most recent being when the "Bay Area Blues Society presented two awards to the band in the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame – "Harmonica Player of the Year" for Rod Piazza and "Keyboard Player of the Year" for Honey Piazza ". Now with the release of Rod's 26th album over a span of 44 years, Rod Piazza and his band once again demonstrate why their popularity has never waned.
"Almighty Dollar" consists of 12 Tracks, ten of which are covers and two originals written by Rod Piazza, the title track "Almighty Dollar" and the closing track "Con-Vo-Looted". Joining Rod Piazza on "Almighty Dollar" are his longtime members of The All Mighty Flyers, Honey Piazza (Piano/Organ), Henry Carvajal (Guitar/Vocals/Background Vocals/Handclaps) and Dave Kida (Drums). Special Guest on various tracks included Johnny Dyer (Vocals), Rusty Zinn (Guitar), Norm Gonzales (Fender Bass), Henry Van Sickle (Upright Bass), and Jonny Viau (Tenor Sax).
"Rusty Zinn released six albums between 1996 and 2009, and he has worked with Mark Hummel, Kim Wilson, Larry Taylor, and Sly Dunbar. Johnny Dyer has received a nomination for a Blues Music Award, and been involved in a number of recordings in the last three decades, both as a solo performer and with other musicians. Hank Van Sickle is a session musician who has worked in a variety of genres, but primarily draws from Americana, blues rock, jazz, and rock music. Jonny has played and recorded with numerous acts including Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Famer Solomon Burke, Blues Hall of Famer Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Candye Kane, and the Fabulous Thunderbirds ."
"Almighty Dollar" starts off with a great swing number called "Move Out Baby". This is the one that sets the tone and gets it all started with great Harmonica and Vocals from Rod mixed in nicely with Honey Piazza's rousing piano work.
Great Bass work from Henry Van Sickle and Tenor Sax courtesy of Jonny Viau permeate the second track, "What Makes You So Tough".
Being a wine lover, I must say track four "Wine, Wine, Wine", was right up my alley as Rod sings "Give Me A Great Big Glass of Wine". Again nice Sax and great Harmonica in this one. Up next is the Porter Grainger song "Ain't Nobody's Business". "It was written in the 1920s by pianist Porter Grainger, who had been Bessie Smith's accompanist, and Everett Robbins". Honey Piazza's Piano work on this treasure would of surely made Porter Grainger proud.
Rod Piazza first of two originals is the title track "Almighty Dollar" and is described in the liner notes by Rod as "an original commentary on life in general for all blues players and most people I know". Clocking in as the longest cut on this album, Rod Piazza gets his point across loud and clear, not only via the outstanding lyrics, but also via the outstanding Harmonica work. A very good song, perhaps the best one on "Almighty Dollar".
Fans of the Harmonica get a good monster dose if it via the two instrumentals on "Almighty Dollar" which are track 5 "That's It" and track 12 "Con-Vo-Looted". "That's It" is a Walter Jacobs (Little Walter) cover. Walter Jacobs "was an American blues harmonica player whose revolutionary approach to his instrument has earned him comparisons to Charlie Parker and Jimi Hendrix". Rod Piazza plays a fine piece of homage to Little Walter with this one. "Con-Vo-Looted" is Rod's second of two originals and it really could not have been a better way to close out this great album.
As expected, "Almighty Dollar" starts off and maintains the type of music you have come to love from Rod Piazza. The band, as always, is super tight, thanks in part to the fact they have been together for roughly 3 decades. Also, Rod Piazza has always had a keen ability to pick great guest musicians and "Almighty Dollar" is certainly yet another testament to that fact.
"Almighty Dollar" is another great release, from Rod Piazza and is certainly destined to be headed for many a accolade in 2011.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
"Almighty Dollar" heralds Rod Piazza's latest achievement in a career that spans well over four decades and twenty-five recordings. This time out, the Mighty Flyers rocket into the stratosphere as Piazza pilots his crew through another harp-fueled voyage propelled by some very special guests including Bay Area guitarist Rusty Zinn, Mississippi-bred bluesman Johnny Dyer, So Cal bassists Hank Van Sickle on upright and Norm Gonzalez on electric bass, along with saxophonist Jonny Viau from San Diego. In these tough economic times the power of the almighty dollar may not be what it used to be… but in the hands of Rod Piazza and the All Mighty Flyers you can rest assured that their music retains a value that is unequivocally built to last.
1. Move Out Baby 4:13
2. What Makes You So Tough 2:47
3. Blue Shadows 5:14
4. Wine, Wine, Wine 3:57
5. Ain't Nobody's Business 4:25
6. That's It 3:11
7. Baby Don't Go 4:04
8. Loving Man 3:06
9. Almighty Dollar 5:19
10. We Belong Together 2:49
11. Confessin' The Blues 3:14
12. Con-Vo-Looted 2:49
Listen To Samples Here...