The Howling Diablos have been playing the blues for years at Detroit blues club Sully’s backing up blues and R&B legends like Earl King, Johnny Adams, Albert Collins, and Bo Diddley to name but a few. They even took a young turntablist named Robert Ritchie AKA Kid Rock into their fold helping to create the style that brought him fame and riches. They might not have the fame, but the Howling Diablos have got acclaim. Detroit, Michigan natives know all about how well they can play the blues. Fans of the Mississippi based Fat Possum label are well aware of the Diablos frontman Tino Gross since he’s produced several of R.L. Burnside’s albums. Their new album, Car Wash, should bring the Howling Diablos even more praise.
The dirty groove of “Car Wash” leads off the record with Tino’s low growl lamenting washing Lincoln Continentals for a living. The next song is an R.L. Burnside cover, “Gone So Long”, which takes a body into a whole ‘nuther place. It’s gritty and funky with North Mississippi red clay all over it. The Howling Diablos don’t need to just cover the blues great though – “Broke Down” would fit right in to any Mississippi juke joint with Mike Smith’s slide guitar supplying soul power shake appeal. Mississippi isn’t the only part of the South that the Howling Diablos translate Michigan style. “Prison Train” gives off a good time New Orleans feel despite the songs darker lyrics. A few more highlights: “Mean Little Town” exudes an Exile On Main Street vibe, “Stop Running Your Mouth” has Tino laying it down right, and the legendary drummer from Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels, Johnny “Bee” Badanjek, makes a guest appearance on three tracks. Johnny Evans’s work on saxophone and harmonica are also stellar throughout Car Wash.
So if you’re looking for some good, funky blues to listen to while dancing with your lady or maybe just drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon, heading to the Car Wash would be the right thing to do. The Howling Diablos play the blues with sweat and feeling. It makes me think of what they would say if anybody ever asked them this line from “I’m Waiting For My Man”, “hey white boy, what you doing uptown?” The Howling Diablos would probably answer, “playing the blues, listen to us, and watch your worries disappear.” Car Wash is out now on Alive – Total Energy Records.Powered by Sidelines