Vince Agwada is not a household name. This blues-rocker plays an incendiary guitar and he and his band can light any place on fire. He should be better known and his second album perhaps can now help correct that. This one follows up his 2008 effort “Eyes of the City” and it was all written and produced by Vince. Agwada has been a fixture on the Chicago blues scene for 25 years. Starting at Theresa’s and Buddy Guy’s Checkerboard Lounge, he jammed and played with the best of them, including Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Otis Rush, Syl Johnson and Magic Slim. The late Lefty Dizz let Agwada sit in on the Blue Monday jams as a teenager. Agwada has also toured for decades with an equally impressive list of legends. Now with two CDs released, the world has a great sampling of what this guy can do.
The driving and dirty beat of “Chi Town State of Mind” opened the CD and it up almost literally beat me to a pulp. I was tired after listening to it- it was that big of a song! The pile driving beat, heavy guitars, and down and dirty harp are Chicago blues and rock taken to an intense level. Followed up by another rocking song called “Blindsided”, we get more stinging guitar. Minus the harp on this one, the solo work revolves completely around Agwada’s guitar play. He plays his heart out again, but then follows those two up with a funked-up song with lots of the clavinet called “President”. It offers a contrast to the rockers and shows us some diversity. The instrumental “Head Too Tight” offers more cool stuff, with sax and some more keys added. He also shows he can handle the slow stuff with “Black Rain”, where his guitar wails so well.
Orlando Wright, Andre Howard and Vic Jackson are mostly on bass, Clyde Davis, Brady Williams and Steve Gillis are mostly on drums, Roosevelt Purfoy adds his keys and many others contribute here. Sugar Blue makes an appearance on two of the tracks and Larry McCray adds his guitar to the mix on one of them- “Right on Time”; very nicely done. The Chicago Horns join Sugar Blue as guests on “Shake It Up”, too. The title track is down tempo, rocking blues, one of the slower tracks. He closes with “She Never Said”, the second instrumental and third slow song, allowing listeners time to recover their heart beats as he closes in a nice and mellow manner. Funky, bluesy, rocking stuff all over the place- It is all quite the experience. If you like guitar and lots of it you will love this. Agwada lays it on heavy and shows us what he’s got. Just be ready because it is a hot and heavy ride!
–Steve Jones – Blues Blast Magazine