Live at Riverhead-Phil Varca and The SlamJammers GTS 0190-2 2004
There isn't a lost moment to be found on this hot, hot manifesto of axe superlatives. Recorded at the 2002 Riverhead Blues Festival, Phil attacks all out, not even waiting for the emcee to finish. Tom Porter lays down barrage after barrage of bass and Russell Stone sets the skins on fire. Opening with "Struttin'" , the Varca machine is hot and heavy with picking, chording, wah wahs and sounds not usually heard from a guitar. He's learned on the Hendrix/SRV altar and taken it his own way. When Phil covers, he takes the songs into the Varca world. They are not copied but enlarged, expanded and interpreted with style and honor. Varca originals "Struttin"', "Maybe" and "Don't Push Me" are perfect fits with covers of "Walkin' the Dog", SRV, Jimi and "Born Under A Bad Sign." Andy Aledort adds his own brand of 6 string mastery to "Walkin.." and "Maybe", where both men push each other to the limits. Phil sings gruff and rough and when he's done, there isn't a soul left sitting. If you like it hot, heavy and loud, soulful and true, this is it. Wild.
Mark Gresser a.k.a. "Dr. Blues" - The Long Island Blues Society