Live and On Fire
The Dusty 45s are one of the more entertaining bands to see perform in the region, and Live and On Fire catches them in their element. The generous 15 selections are almost exclusively originals, most penned by front man Billy Joe Huels. The first 12 cuts were recorded at a February 2014 show at the Triple Door, and the remainder in Portland. Their sound ranges from rock to surf to a touch of rock-a-billy and a healthy touch of country with plenty of picante guitar by Jerry Battista. “Bye Bye Blues” is an old jazz song from 1930, probably the best known of the dozens of recordings is the 1952 version by Les Paul and Mary Ford, here featuring a trumpet solo by Billy Joe, a short upright bass solo by Jeff Gray and a harp solo by the drummer Kelly Van Camp (yes, drums with one hand and feet and with harp in the other hand -- amazing to see!) “Bumblebee” is a fun song with the line “bumblebees make honey/Honey will you be mine/sweet like sugar/I want to drink your bumblebee wine.” They do a show-stopping version of one of my very favorite blues songs, “St. James Infirmary” with tasty guitar lines by Jerry and muted trumpet by Billy Joe, even a harp solo by Kelly. The rocking romp “32 Quarters” surely has the crowd on their feet and stomping. The show ends with “Miserlou” credited as Greek traditional/Dick Dale, and I can visualize Billy Joe’s flaming trumpet as the audience chants along with the band -- hey, hey, hey. Go see the Dusty 45s play a live show, and while you are there make sure to get a copy of Live And On Fire, and the 45s last studio release Fortunate Man, too.
Reviewed by Malcolm Kennedy