Mike Felten Sings Away the Blues

PTLN 11-17-20

Mike Felten: Fast Mikey Blue Eyes

‘I met Mike Felten and Bill Glahn for the first time many years ago at Mike’s Record Emporium on a July 4th food giveaway, musical performance, and blood-pressure-taking clinic.  The point is that Mike was always more than a record dealer, although he certainly was that.  His original music melds the joys and struggles of the working class of this city, and I know when I listen to this album it consoles me, fires my fury, makes me want to dance.  What else can you expect of music in the time of a pandemic, when the powers that be do all but ignore your needs?”   Editor/publisher of Live! Music Review. (1993-2000)

Review: While, in one respect, Mike Felten’s 6th studio delivers what might be expected from this veteran of the Chicago streets, that’s not the whole story. To the novice listener, Felten might be put squarely in the middle of the “Americana” genre, his previous releases featuring elements of folk, country, gospel, and blues. All with a decidedly Chicago-centric feel.

Fast Mikey Blues Eyes, like earlier Felten releases, is rich in stories of the Chicago landscape like “Homan Avenue,” an infamous worst-kept-secret where criminals don’t want to end up while in police custody. It’s a place where “the good lord forget about you and the devil never calls.” And where even the innocent are guilty. It’s the kind of story that Brit disciples of Chicago Blues like Fleetwood Mac never imagined when they crossed oceans to play with the founding fathers of Chicago Blues over 50 years ago. It’s a story that needs to be told in these times. So does the story of the resisters like “Godzilla Jones.”

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