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Fantastic NegritoFantastic Negrito
Album: Fantastic Negrito Deluxe Edition
Label: Blackball Universal
Tracks: 7

This artist is storming up the Blues charts in America and I was interested to see what all the fuss was all about.

Well what can I say? Fantastic Negrito is one of the freshest sounding blues artists to emerge in years.

His sound merges the old blues hollers from the delta, with lashings of slide guitar and brings it bang up to date with crisp arrangements and production.

It's a very neat trick and it sounds very commercial.

This EP features two new songs - Lost In A Crowd and She Don't Cry No More.

Both feature gritty vocals and lots of rhythmic drums high in the mix and a underpinning refrain. Sprinkle in some piano and organ and you're there. It's intoxicating!

Think of the songs of Skip James meeting the showmanship of Prince.

Fantastic Negrito is based in Oakland and says his music is "black roots music for everyone".

I was reminded of Malvern's roots band Babajack whose music also follows a similar vibe.

The rhythmic Night Has Turned To Day is an upbeat blues which bounces along - it could have come straight from the cotton fields - that's where it's roots are but it has been given a stylish twist. The Time Has Come shows his quiet side. It's a slow piano blues which clearly demonstrate this guy can sing. You want flashy guitar solos here - it's the overall sound that works so well.

A New Beginning is the last track and it hits the spot. Drums, piano, and organ sit behind a motif played on the slide, but it's the vocals that stand out. Superb.

This EP is an excellent introduction and there is an album coming soon, which I can't wait to hear.

If you think blues music is just for old fuddy duddy's then think again. Have a listen to some 21st Century blues and get on board with Fantastic Negrito.

John Knighton