"Almighty Dollar" heralds Rod Piazza's latest achievement in a career that spans well over four decades and twenty-five recordings. This time out, the Mighty Flyers rocket into the stratosphere as Piazza pilots his crew through another harp-fueled voyage propelled by some very special guests including Bay Area guitarist Rusty Zinn, Mississippi-bred bluesman Johnny Dyer, So Cal bassists Hank Van Sickle on upright and Norm Gonzalez on electric bass, along with saxophonist Jonny Viau from San Diego. In these tough economic times the power of the almighty dollar may not be what it used to be… but in the hands of Rod Piazza and the All Mighty Flyers you can rest assured that their music retains a value that is unequivocally built to last.
This California-based blues band led by Rod Piazza, the harmonica player and singer whose stratospheric harmonica wailings owe a heavy debt to both Little Walter and George "Harmonica" Smith. Piazza began his professional career as a member of the Dirty Blues Band in the mid-'60s. The Dirty Blues Band recorded two albums for ABC/Bluesway – an eponymous debut in 1967 and 1968's Stone Dirty. Piazza left the band after the release of Stone Dirty, choosing to hit the road with his idol George "Harmonica" Smith instead. Over the next decade and a half, Piazza and Smith performed together frequently under the name Bacon Fat; they also recorded the occasional album.
In the days before punk rock, Kursaal Flyers straddled the line separating pub rock and power pop. The line was so thin it would seem to disappear in the rearview mirror, but when Kursaal Flyers were active in the mid-'70s, they were subtly pulled in two different directions. They'd tour on the same circuit as their friends Dr. Feelgood, but they also signed to Jonathan King's company in 1975, then worked with pop impresario Mike Batt after singing to CBS for The Golden Mile in 1976. Batt gave "Little Does She Know" a grandiose arrangement designed to conjure memories of Phil Spector, and it was enough for the single to crack the U.K. Top 20; however, instead of being their breakthrough, it was their only hit.
The post-Family band formed by Family masterminds Roger Chapman and Charlie Whitney. Where their former band balanced art-rock and blues-rock, the Streetwalkers were a throwback, a blues-rock band that put Chapman's extraordinary voice front and center. Unlike Family, however, the Streetwalkers, who were a good but not great band, sounded too calculated, as if they wanted to cash in on some of the pre-punk hard rock notoriety that bands like Bad Company and Thin Lizzy were getting. Where they remained consistent with their former aggregation was that the Streetwalkers, though popular in England, were virtually ignored in America. A solid, at times excellent live band, the Streetwalkers split up in the early '80s after the release of a (surprisingly) desultory live LP that had contractual obligation written all over it.