Review: Johnny Mastro’s “Beautiful Chaos”

L.A.’s Johnny Mastro and Mama’s Boys spare no grease or grit on their new disc “Beautiful Chaos.” Fans of 13 will find much to enjoy here; Mama’s Boys even feature 13 touring bassist Mike Hightower playing behind harp man Mastro (also notable is special guest Kirk Fletcher on guitar). Produced in Detroit by Jim Diamond (known for his work on the early White Stripes records), the sound is amped-up classic blues-rock as filtered through, well, The White Stripes. The big shuffle “Wineheaded” would feel at home in a Thorogood set, while the Peter Green-influenced “The Dirge” is more than a nod to “Dazed and Confused.” Mastro’s harp fits in every which way, a chunky, metallic sound with roots in Howlin’ Wolf and Mark Wenner. His sound is on full display in the instrumental jump “Fresh Squeezed Coolaid,” the frantic tommy gun “KGB Boogie” and pounding rocker “Spider.” The whole thing wraps up with a cover of Lester Butler’s “Night,” acknowledging a primary influence on Mastro’s playing. It’s exciting to hear the tune again, given fresh life by a band that can pull it all off. Play this one at your next fistfight.

RIYL: Hook Herrera, Led Zep’s blues stuff, old Knuckleheads

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