Release date: August 20, 2021
By Mark Baier
GA-20 certainly is an odd name for a blues band. Sounds more like an ‘80s dance combo or a part for your refrigerator. In truth, GA-20 is a band named after a guitar amplifier. Mind you, not your ordinary guitar amplifier, but one of the most feral, brutally raw, fire breathing amplifiers known to man. With that in mind, it's the perfect name for this New England based blues trio. Comprised of equal parts primal intensity and primeval grooves, the glorious noise created by GA-20 deserves a name that implies nothing less than elemental electric blues atavism. Or maybe they named the band GA-20 because the name "The Houserockers" was already taken.
Indeed, GA-20's Try It You Might Like It is an unabashed homage to blues' most uninhibitedly raucous band, Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers. Infamous for being the inaugural release for Bruce Iglauer’s Alligator Records, it's fitting that 50 years later Alligator puts it's imprimatur on this exuberant and joyously derivative recording. For the record, GA-20 is comprised of Pat Faherty (vocals, guitar), Matt Stubbs (guitar) and Tim Carman (drums), but they may as well be named Taylor, Phillips and Harvey. To quote Iglauer, " No one made a more wonderfully glorious racket than Hound Dog, Brewer Phillips and Ted Harvey." Further, he adds, "GA-20 absolutely glory in the rough edged unvarnished Chicago blues of Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers. GA-20 are among the very few artists who have captured the band’s raw essence. Hound Dog would be proud that they are delivering his music so well. They rock the house!" That's putting it mildly, Bruce; these guys spit fire!!
TIYMLI features 10 songs, all written and performed originally by the Houserockers. From the deep groove and wildly explosive guitar of "She's Gone" to the classic "Give Me Back My Wig" and "Hawaiian Boogie," GA-20 take no prisoners as they torture their amplifiers and abuse their guitars in reckless abandon. This is visceral stuff, and it's best played loud. Open the windows, unlock the doors and invite the entire neighborhood; this is music meant to rock the house from early evening to late at night, and long after last call.
It's been 50 years since Bruce Iglauer presciently put his life savings on the line to record Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers, and in the process initiated the Alligator Records legacy. GA-20 brings that legacy full circle verifying what Iglauer doubtless knew; that blues this deep and exciting is timeless, as relevant now as it was 50+ years ago. This record is an instant recharge; buy it, turn it up and top off your blues batteries. Try It You Might Like It has voltage to spare.
While Covid restrictions of course have tempered the touring plans of GA-20 for the past 18 months, this Fall they're scheduled to appear at Martyrs Saturday Oct 16. It's hard to imagine a gig that will generate as much anticipation. Reserve the date and plan on staying out past curfew.
5 stars *****
For info or to buy the music: https://ga20band.com/
About the Author: Mark Baier is the founder and owner of Victoria Amplifier Co., manufacturers of professional vacuum tube guitar amplifiers for stage and studio.