Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
All in one
Matthias Döring | Marburg, Germany | 09/13/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Michael Lee Firkins' third solo album again shows this man's beautiful and heartfelt outstanding guitaring. I even stopped wondering how he does his stunning pseudo slide technique just enjoying all the "Swing" and liveliness presented on Cactus Crüz as well as the tight and brilliant playing of the Sidemen. Sure, he may be a poacher in the guitar world, everything seems so familiar on this album. Unlike his first album (Chapter 11 and Decomposition are hardly available in Germany) CC is very much Fusion oriented. You'll find sleazy Jeff Beck like tunes and phrases like in the opening track, lots of fusion influence (but still with a strong traditional Blues approach), the great "Midnight Surf" which makes you think of Al Di Meola Classics like "Elegant Gypsy". "Dollar Blues" brought tears of laughter to my eyes because it actually sounds like some parody but played with an intensity never heard by anyone else except Scott Henderson. MLF didn't even cut out those three or four mistakes in his sometimes crazy solo part.
There is also a very funky version of Quincy Jones' "Sanford & Son" Theme which demonstrates again the enormous skillfulness of his playing. Any guitarist desperately using a WahWah Pedal should listen to that tune showing all the possibilities of this device.
Cactus Crüz is a record for everyone loving Blues, Fusion, and guitar virtuoso music. The writing is always focused on the song and on expressiveness, not on boasting hyperspeed solo etudes.
Actually this recording deserves 4 1/2 stars. There are two less interesting tracks on it and the quality of the artwork is beyond any discussion at least in my opinion. CC could have been produced with more care. Sometimes you can hear the click in the fadeout and the mix is very crude yet transparent so that every detail of the guitar, the bass and the drums is covered."