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July/August 1999

Rusty Zinn
On Confessin'
Black Top Records

Guitarist Rusty Zinn is somebody who's coming at it from a more purist, decidedly pre-Hendrix/SRV point of view. On Confessin' (Black Top 1151; 54:28), his second album as a leader, the former Kim Wilson sideman conjures up a late '40s, early '50s Duke-Peacock vibe with a natural flair. Upright bass and subdued backbeats set the tone on this retro offering while Zinn delivers with T-Bone Walker-ish verve on a series of shuffles, twist numbers, slow blues and jump blues. Kindred spirit Charlie Baty guests on Robert Nighthawks' "Someday" and Zinn's "Lucille." The Gospel All-Stars guest on a soulful rendition of "Don't Let It Be in Vain" and an eerily faithful rendition of The Five Royales' "Think," right down to every bent note and slippery phrase that guitarist Lowell Pauling played and sang on the original version. But perhaps the most haunting number here is Zinn's unaccompanied Delta-fied rendition of Rick Estrin's "Come Get These Blues Up Off Me." A solid player and highly expressive vocalist, Zinn is strictly a student of the old school. And in that realm, he excels.

Originally published in July/August 1999
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