By: Dennis Cook
The very definition of jamming – as rooted in the Allman Brothers, Derek Trucks Band and other Southern boys with a knack for simultaneous slide and sophistication - No Strings Attached has the in-the-moment immediacy and loosey goosey feel of a night in some cool local club where a band of unknowns is firing on all cylinders, just feeling the music roll around in their hands, grappled and chiseled in real time.
Sure, things can meander a touch now and then here, atmosphere sometimes overtaking melody or thrust, but for shimmering, heavy breathing keys (from Blue Floyd/ABB alumni Johnny Neel) and growling torrents of fabulous guitar antics, including oodles of raw slide (courtesy of Seth Davis and some gifted fellow travelers), Chef Dave is hard to beat. The liner notes announce, "All songs were written by the players, spontaneously, as they were being recorded. There was no rehearsal or music charts to read. What you hear is what happened at that moment."
Heavier on instrumentals, the vocals, especially on "Stretchin' (part 2) Where's My Cane?" are suitably Southern rock, and offer a nice counterpoint to the spirited noodling. The joint celebrating "Light It Up" harnesses Dickey Betts style eloquence and lightness of touch to Neel's rumbling, barrelhouse soul. There's a nifty wallop to No Strings Attached, where the band puts their shoulders into it from the start and their intensity pays dividends for lovers of pure jam music.
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