Francisco Gonzalez

By A.J Wachtel
May 2015

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Although this artist plays Mexican-Chicano Harp music, his sound has captured the ears and attention of legendary Blues bassist Harvey Brooks: who produces these recordings and plays both electric and upright on this CD. Listen to how Brooks supports a uniquely talented musician in a different genre and hear his choice of notes laying down the low end. This will be of interest to the many Blues fans who would never have an opportunity to ever hear releases like this in New England. So read on:

The listener has to hear this release in a different way. There are no screaming guitar leads or killer piano rolls one can base their opinions on. Instead, Francisco plucks, picks, strums and focuses more on establishing a mood or feeling with his changes in dynamics and phrasing. This lasts throughout the song; not just for a few measures of greatness.Your ears are more committed paying attention to hearing exactly what's going on in the song. The tunes are all ballads, sung in Spanish, except for the title cut "The Gift"; which is in English. Even without understanding the language, the great musicianship makes sure I know the general context of what the tune is about. Brooks plays upright bass on this and it's a great testimony to his musicianship that the man who played with Dylan, The Doors, Jimi and Electric Flag is so adept at supporting a harpist. My favorite cuts are the instrumentals: "Una Tormenta De Amor" the solo harp tune where he almost sounds like a piano, the somber "Anthem" with Harvey on electric bass, and the traditional tune "El Zapateado" where Gonzalez' uptempo frenetic playing really showcases how he uses passion and emotion to strut his stuff. Check it out.

Harvey Brooks was in the Blues/Rock/Soul band Electric Flag. They were prominent leaders in the first wave when black Blues music was introduced to white middle-class North Americans; in the 1960's.

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