When David Gogo was recording his latest album this summer there were times when he would listen back to a song he thought was done only to scrap the whole thing and start over.
“It took a while because I really wanted to take my time with it and make sure that everything was exactly how I wanted it to be,” the Nanaimo bluesman said. “So I spent a lot more time doing demo tapes with the song, just recording at home as I was writing and been going back and listening to the songs and making a lot of changes, more than I ever have.”
On Friday, Gogo releases 17 Vultures, his 15th studio album and his first that combines acoustic and electric compositions. Gogo is currently on tour in Ontario, but he’ll be back in Nanaimo on Nov. 24 with a CD release show at the Queen’s, a venue he hasn’t performed at in some time.
“There’s not a lot of bells and whistles on this recording. It’s not completely live off the floor, but very much has that feel,” he said.
The record also has a handful of covers. Gogo describes the album as an “eclectic mix of songs.” Aside from a cover of Yo Yo Blues by 1920s bluesman Barbecue Bob, Gogo finds the blues in Doug and the Slugs, the Beatles and Bob Dylan.
For a touch of Canadian content, Gogo gives the blues treatment to Doug and the Slugs’ Tomcat Prowl.
“If you listen to the original recording of Tomcat Prowl it’s very of its time. There are a lot of synthesizers and late-80s, early-90s production qualities but I could hear just a good, dirty blues song in there and that’s the way we decided to record it,” Gogo said.
Gogo digs deep into the Beatles catalogue with a cover of Don’t Bother Me, a 1963 tune penned by George Harrison. Gogo said it’s difficult covering Beatles songs.
“It’s kind of a bold move, but we took a song that was basically pretty primitive in the original recording and changed the complete feel and tempo of the whole thing,” he said.
The last cover on the record is Dylan’s From a Buick 6, selected as a tribute to both Dylan and Gogo’s old friend, guitarist Johnny Winter, who died in 2014.
“I did a lot of touring with Johnny Winter back in the day and Johnny Winter had taken a Bob Dylan song called Highway 61 and turned it into a real slide guitar song and I wanted to do the same,” Gogo said.
Aside from teasing the title track during his shows with British rock group Wishbone Ash in September, this tour will be the first time Gogo plays any of these songs live. As the songs are still pretty fresh, Gogo said he was writing the lyrics down on his way to Ontario.
“I can’t afford a teleprompter, so I just go old school and get a three-ring binder,” he said.
WHAT’S ON … David Gogo CD release show at the Queen’s on Nov. 24. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Tickets on sale Friday, Oct. 19 at the venue, Lucid, Desire Tattoo, Sunrise Records or online at myshowpass.com.