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Coco Montoya: Suspicion

A blistering axe-slinger with an awesome command of blues-rock vocabulary, Coco Montoya screams with authority on Suspicion (Alligator 4871; 55:16). Produced by Jim Gaines (Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Luther Allison), this Alligator debut bristles with energy and sheer chops. The former sideman to Albert Collins and John Mayall unleashes on hard-hitting fare like “Enough Is Enough,” “Beyond the Blues,” “Don’t Take It Personally” and on two horn-driven Stax/Volt production numbers, “I Need Your Love in My Life” and “What I Know Now.” He conjures up some hoodoo on “Casting My Spell” and pays tribute to the memory of his mentor Collins on the funky “Get Your Business Straight.” Montoya pulls off a convincing slow blues on “Trading One Fool For Another” and rips it up on the rousing roadhouse shuffle “You Didn’t Think About That,” another tip o’ the hat to Albert Collins. Lot of jaw-dropping licks and forceful, impassioned vocals by the big man from start to finish.

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