Myers penned half of the fourteen cuts here, filling out the album with classics such as Lowell Fulson's "Reconsider Baby" and Willie Dixon's "Oh Baby." Stylistic differences between the originals and the remakes are virtually nonexistent. Whether he's laying down the law to an unfaithful woman on his own "You Can't Do That" or begging for a little love and understanding on "Elevate Me, Mama" by influential Thirties and Forties harp player Sonny Boy Williamson I (J.L. Williamson), he does so over a musical backing that never strays from tradition. The instrumental track "Dave's Boogie Guitar" provides a playful clinic in post-World War II soloing, while "Ting-a-Ling" stomps and rambles like pre-Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins rock and roll.

Myers's musical sensibilities have remained intact partly because he switched from guitar to bass four decades ago and just recently broke out his six-string. He plays the guitar like he never left it behind. It is to our benefit that such an artist would emerge at this late date, picking and riffing and singing like the intervening musical evolution hadn't occurred. Why'd ya wait so long, Dave?

-- Adam St. James

Gerald Collier
Gerald Collier

If we are to take Gerald Collier's word for it, the world is bleak, a place where occasional fits of anger sputter to life before dissipating into despair. That's the universe depicted on his eleven-song major-label solo debut, which comes amazingly close to falling over the edge into self-pity but, even more amazingly, doesn't. Singer-guitarist Collier -- a former member of the Seattle-based band Best Kissers in the World -- writes sharp, mordant, dark lyrics. In "Hell Has Frozen Over" he sings, "I'm glad that you can't see me here/Stumbling through the night/With all the porn stars shining/And bathing me in their light."

Musically, folk-rock and power chords comfortably coexist here. The opening cut, "Dark Days," a ballad shot through with frustration, and the second track, a bouncy rocker called "Whored Out Again," convey strong emotions but stick to garden-variety arrangements. Collier signals a willingness to take some risks on the two-part "Forgiveness from Revenge/God Never Lived in My Neighborhood"; the song opens with light, stark acoustic picking, but after a minute it shifts gears with seething, soaring electric guitar cutting in to transform it into a heady rush of emotion. Its simple yet anguished lyrics strike a balance between intensity and numbness: "God takes everyone except the ones he should." The song is reminiscent of the work of the late Jeff Buckley, as are the sadly pretty "Hitting the Wall" and the midtempo "Truth or Dare." Like Buckley, Collier isn't afraid to aim for the grandiose and then temper it with something soft and lilting. As an example, "Truth or Dare" segues into a placid cover of Pink Floyd's "Fearless" (from 1971's Meddle), proving that Collier can find a small gem in the catalogue of even the most overblown band. He's able to pull off both big and little gestures, and the outcome is an album that's consistently intriguing.

-- Theresa Everline

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