Devil Gets His Due (New Hillbilly)
The Metro Blues All-Stars

By Michael Campbell

This recording poses a dilemma: which of the three bands, within this band, to evaluate.

We have the Metros as a country blues group, the Metros Chicago style, and the Metros as a bar band.

The most successful of the three, hands down, is the country blues approach.

The album's opening track, Deep Mine Blues, stakes out high country blues terrain, generally untrammeled in today's music. This straightforward and sincere treatment is framed by an acoustic, minor key arrangement and shaded with lonesome Appalachian harmony. As much country as it is blues, it's fresh. I Would Do For You is another effective example of the country blues approach.

The title cut cooks well enough in a Chicago cum Canned Heat fashion; it's simply that lots and lots of other blues bands do it so much better.

Get Up serves only to display the weakness of the group's ensemble singing, the a capella portion being the most vivid example of what should have been a rousing chorus. This is the weakest of the bar band songs. The term bar band should not be viewed necessarily as a negative; Storm Coming Through, arguably of that genre, has a smoky, wee hours quality that makes it possibly the strongest track of the set.

The conclusion is that the Metros would be well advised to explore their Eastern Kentucky blues roots, and leave the Chicago clich‚s behind. Then perhaps they can realize their potential, which is beyond the fine bar band that they already are.