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AMERICAN BLUES EXCHANGE – Blueprint

A bunch of US college students got together in the late 60’s and formed American Blues Exchange, who then gigged around college dances and parties before recording their only album in 1969. Despite the name, they not only played bluesy rock, but also some dual guitar hard rock as well, with the sensitive ballad ‘Burlington Letter’ thrown in for good measure. ‘On Solitude’ is a pretty ordinary song to open with, and doesn’t bode well on the vocal front, with Roy Dudley’s voice straining to reach certain notes. ‘Cold From Blues’ is much better, being a slow blues and more suited to his range. ‘Record Thing’ introduces a recorder to the proceedings for a jazzy interlude, before the afore-mentioned ‘Burlington Letter’ slows things down for a while. After the disappointing ‘Ode To The Lost Legs Of John Bean’, ‘Big Max Revenge’ is a good RnB/blues instrumental, and this is followed by another slow ballad in ‘The True Son Confesses’. The album closes with the bluesy rock of the lengthy ‘Age Child’, while the CD re-issue is augmented by three live versions of blues standards like ‘Dust My Broom’. It might be because I was expecting a more authentic blues sound that I found this album rather disappointing, and the mixture of blues, ballads and rock is too diverse for it to hold together as a good example of any one of those genres. Oddly enough it was the bonus tracks on this CD which impressed me the most, but by then it was too little too late, and I can’t really recommend this album.
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