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The Big Takeover Issue #93
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Eddie Skuller – The Morphine Berry Story (self-released)

30 March 2009
New York’s EDDIE SKULLER has previously distinguished himself as a singer and writer capable of working comfortably in a variety of styles, but I still didn’t see this coming. The Morphine Berry Story is a blues album, and a pretty distinctive one at that. Collaborating with Hoboken music god JAMES MASTRO (*THE HEALTH & HAPPINESS SHOW*, THE BONGOS), Skuller uses nothing but guitar, a pair of drummers and a muscular harmonica to conjure a haunted atmosphere of melancholy introspection. Too savvy to try to sound like an African American delta bluseman, Skuller instead personalizes the form, bending it to his will on “I Had It All,” “Your Perfume” and “How Do You Know (I’m Sad).” Mastro contributes excellent support with a supremely tasteful six-string performance, stripping back the riffs of blues guitar to almost pure mood. Very well written for the most part (the working class aura of “The Wheel Man” doesn’t quite ring true) and beautifully sung, The Morphine Berry Story is a perfect example of a fully realized individual vision of the blues.