Hands up, this is the first time I’ve come across this sixty six year old “stalwart” of the rock-blues industry, but apparently he’s responsible for founding New Zealand’s La De Das and Australia’s The Party Boys. Missing Borich out of my music may well have been a bit of a mistake!!

Totem (Here from HighResAudio) has two distinct parts to it. The first fourteen tracks tread a heavy-blues road and it’s blistering stuff with funk and attitude aplenty. SoapBoxBitchinBlues slows things down a little five tracks in with a more laidback groove to it but then your back to the scorching guitar riffs for the remainder of this section of the record. This is sort of what I expect Red Hot Chilli Peppers would be doing now had they not gone all crap and lost their groove. There’s funk, boogie and that good down-home honest blues-rock that just refuses to go away and that can only be a good thing.

The last three tracks on Totem are a little different and take a different course. Gone is the harder edged feel, replaced instead by a more blues-jazz tinged outing. The guitar work is still exemplary, but rather than five minute outbursts of energy, we are treated to a more meandering and technical workout. Yes it’s still very clever blues but it’s different and in a live setting I’d imagine an absolutely glorious experience.

Totem is a very good record in two parts …and these two parts make you feel you’ve got damned good value for money. Borich is without doubt a very talented musician and guitarist, but Totem isn’t some navel gazing exercise in one-upmanship and virtuosity  – it’s vital, fun, clever and rocking!

Highly Recommended!!!!

Stuart Smith

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