NorthernBlues Music

Hungry Ghosts - Reviews

 

Hungry Ghosts

 

"Hungry Ghosts is co-led by guitarist-singers Doug Cox and Sam Hurrie. Filled with country Blues and traditional style folk music, this set has covers that range from Son House and Tommy Johnson to Duane Allman along with sevel originals. The newer songs sound as classic as the vintage material. The instrumentation changes from cut to cut and includes both occasional instrumentals and some haunting numbers that utilize several vocalists. Doug Cox and Sam Hurrie, both of whom deserve to be well known in the acoustic Blues world, make for a very potent musical team on the recommended Hungry Ghosts."

- Scott Yanow
Cadence
February 2006


"When I heard the opening cut of Doug Cox & Sam Hurrie’s Hungry Ghosts (NorthernBlues Music), a beautiful cover of Duane Allman’s “Little Martha” (one of my all-time favorite instrumentals), I knew I was going to enjoy this disc, and I was not disappointed. Cox is a multi-instrumentalist and has played with artists such as Ken Hamm, Long John Baldry, and Amos Garrett. Hurrie played with The Churls in the ’60s, opting to work and raise a family until he retired in 2001 and returned to making music full time. Having met about seven years ago, Cox & Hurrie have played together around Canada & eventually the U.S. and Europe.

Hungry Ghosts consists of 13 tracks of original compositions and covers. The covers are the aforementioned “Little Martha,” a tasty mix of Cox’s acoustic guitar with Hurrie’s electric guitar sprinkled around, Son House’s “Grinning In Your Face” (with guest vocals by Ruthie Foster and Cyd Cassone), Jagger & Richard’s “No Expectations,” Tommy Johnson’s “Canned Heat Blues,” and a couple of traditional tracks (“Kansas City” and “Valse Frontenac”).

The original compositions are very good also, notably “Carry Me Away,” “Cool Drink of Water,” and the closing instrumental “Red Haired Raga.” As noted above, both guitarists are fantastic, whether on acoustic, electric, slide, or Dobro. Vocally, both do a fine job, but the dazzling guitar work is what will bring you back to this one for repeated listening. Fans of acoustic guitar will want to pick up a copy of Hungry Ghosts."

- Graham Clarke
Blues Bytes
November, 2005


"Although it has been released on the Northernblues label and it does include a few blues, this outing by guitarist-singers Doug Cox and Sam Hurrie falls more into the folk music genre. Some of the tunes, particularly those using other vocalists (most notably "Grinning in Your Face") are haunting, some reveal great truths and insights about the world, and all of the music is heartfelt. There is an impressive amount of variety, ranging from Tommy Johnson to Duane Allman, with the originals sounding as classic as the more vintage songs. The talented Doug Cox and Sam Hurrie are well worth discovering by fans of both folk music and blues."

- Scott Yanow
Allmusic.com
October, 2005

"When he's not producing the Vancouver Island Music Festival and other events in the Comox Valley, Doug Cox is a very accomplished folk musician with a busy touring and recording career.

"Teaming up on a baker's dozen of originals and thoughtful remakes of compositions by Duane Allman, Tommy Johnson, Jagger and Richards, and a pair of rearranged traditional tunes, Cox and guitarist Sam Hurrie produce a seamless song cycle that is as satisfying as Spider Robinson's liner notes claim.

"Explaining the CD title's Tibetan Buddhist cosmological realm, Robinson calls Cox and Hurrie "multiply-gifted instrumentalists" lauding their acoustic roots music's "power to satisfy."

"Hungry Ghosts is all that and more.

"Cox stands out on acoustic guitar, National mandolin, Rayco Resophonic dobro, Celtic cross double-neck Weissenborn, electro reso slide, mohan veena, OMI dobro, bass and vocals. Hurrie is equally outstanding on acoustic and electric guitars, National guitar, Sven Nordland brass guitar, slide guitar, bass and vocals. The duo produces an evocative soundscape with their arsenal of stringed instruments, a rich sound augmented on several cuts by Rick May's bass and other studio contributions by Ruthie Foster, Cyd Cassone, Todd Butler, Mary Murphy, RaeJean Laidlaw, and Robb Flannery. It's a beauty."

- Mike Devlin
Times Colonist, Victoria, BC
October, 2005


"When I heard the opening cut of Doug Cox & Sam Hurrie’s Hungry Ghosts (Northernblues Music), a beautiful cover of Duane Allman’s “Little Martha” (one of my all-time favorite instrumentals), I knew I was going to enjoy this disc, and I was not disappointed. Cox is a multi-instrumentalist and has played with artists such as Ken Hamm, Long John Baldry, and Amos Garrett. Hurrie played with The Churls in the 60’s, opting to work and raise a family until he retired in 2001 and returned to making music full time. Having met about seven years ago, Cox & Hurrie have played together around Canada & eventually the U.S. and Europe. Hungry Ghosts consists of thirteen tracks of original compositions and covers. The covers are the aforementioned “Little Martha,” a tasty mix of Cox’s acoustic guitar with Hurrie’s electric guitar sprinkled around, Son House’s “Grinning In Your Face” (with guest vocals by Ruthie Foster and Cyd Cassone), Jagger & Richard’s “No Expectations,” Tommy Johnson’s “Canned Heat Blues,” and a couple of traditional tracks (“Kansas City” and “Valse Frontenac”). The original compositions are very good also, notably “Carry Me Away,” “Cool Drink of Water,” and the closing instrumental “Red Haired Raga.” As noted above, both guitarists are fantastic, whether on acoustic, electric, slide, or dobro. Vocally, both do a fine job, but the dazzling guitar work is what will bring you back to this one for repeated listening. Fans of acoustic guitar will want to pick up a copy of Hungry Ghosts."

- Blues Bytes
October/November 2005

"Canadian Doug Cox is regarded as one of the world's leading dobro players, having written several instruction books and CD's as teaching tools. Sam Hurrie is also an accomplished guitarist who grew up playing in Toronto before moving to New York City. He missed his homeland, tho, and has now come full circle by teaming with Doug Cox on their debut CD for Fred Litwin's Northern Blues label, "Hungry Ghosts.""Both these esteemed players literally cut their teeth listening to the blues of the pre-war masters, several of whom Sam Hurrie was fortunate to meet during his stateside stint. You can hear the influences of Son House, Bukka White, and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee in their near Zen-like approach to this music. Check out their interpretation of the Jagger\Richards tune, "No Expectations," here stripped-down to its barest form, even more so than on the "Beggars Banquet" original. The light-hearted "Nap Time For Sam" showcases a character who "don't need no protons, no neutrons, just give him a futon" to escape the world's troubles! That leads us to our favorite track, a tune called "Fear," that has humorous underpinnings which belie what really fuels the world after 9\11. This one has some outstanding mandolin work from Doug while Sam delivers the vocals."The title of this CD is derived from Tibetan Buddhism, where hungry ghosts are continually searching for things to sate their hunger. We guarantee blues fans will get their "fix" with a copy of "Hungry Ghosts."

-Sheryl and Don Crow
Music City Blues Society
September, 2005

"Two veteran acoustic guitarists who specialize in resonators achieve an all but perfect two-hander on this fascinating collaboration. It's a set of 10 organic, folk- and blues-based instrumentals and whimsical, spiritual songs mixed with a handful of traditional pieces ("Kansas City," "Valse Frontenac," "Canned Heat Blues" and Son House's "Grinning in Your Face") and one cover (the Jagger-Richards ballad "No Expectations"), elegantly picked and delicately strummed on a variety of acoustic axes and embellished sparingly with electric slide guitar, bass and simple percussion. A masterpiece of sympathetic understatement and relaxed self-assurance, Hungry Ghosts is outstanding for its full range of tonal colour and texture (kudos here to Canadian folk legend Ken Whiteley, who mastered the CD) and for its complete lack of pretense. Even with imaginative "ghost" vocal contributions from Ruthie Foster, Cyd Cassone, RaeJean Laidlaw and Mary Murphy, no song is given an ounce more ornamentation than it needs. A dream roots recording, one of the best of the year."

-Greg Quill
The Toronto Star
August, 2005