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Coco Montoya weaves smooth playing around intimate vocals

Montoya's latest album, “I Want It All Back,” makes the move to Ruf Records – Germany’s premier blues label.

Coco Montoya
I Want It All Back
Ruf Records (RUF 1153)
Grade: ★★★


By Michael Popke

Coco Montoya has made the record-label rounds, releasing albums on two of the better-known U.S. blues labels: Blind Pig and Alligator. For the veteran guitarist/vocalist’s latest album, “I Want It All Back,” Montoya makes the move to Ruf Records – Germany’s premier blues label.

With fellow bluesman Keb’ Mo’ in the producer’s chair, Montoya weaves his smooth, soulful playing around his intimate vocals, giving “I Want It All Back” an air of familiarity and warmth with dashes of R&B sophistication. Although he spent his early days drumming for Albert Collins and later cut albums ablaze with fiery ax work, this disc finds Montoya focusing more on his melodic, expressive singing, using his guitar to complement (rather than amplify) the stories he tells in such songs as “Hey Senorita” and “The Life of My Broken Heart.” Montoya’s soulful cover of Jackson Browne’s pop nugget “Somebody’s Baby” isn’t too shabby, either.

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