Header Image

Reviews

FUTURE CITY (2016)
"This is the second Little Muddy instrumental album reviewed in Pipeline…Rich Goldstein plays electric, slide, acoustic guitars plus a resonator mandolin to give the album a modern rootsy feel in places.
The tracks are generally in the three minute mark, but there are a couple of
attractive shorter features for the resonator in Arrival 1866 and Tomorrow Knows.
Organ embellishes some numbers like the loping Panther Dan, the wistful Barry is Here, and the easy going light jazz of the Andy Griffith Theme. Scything electric licks enhance the grumbling Blacktop Speedway, and there's plenty of latent drama in the pounding 5 Minutes Away. My favorite is the title track Future City, which has an irresistible rhythm and some great hooks which really draw you in."
Pipeline Magazine (UK)  Alan Taylor
"In 2010, Little Muddy released their classic guitar covers album Door 15 and in 2016 they released Future City. With eleven tracks, the album focuses on group originals written and arranged by the band’s lead guitarist Rich Goldstein, backed up by Mark Abbott (drums) and Jeff Obee (bass) with several other bass players and added keyboardist. The sound is less Americana and with the added B3 and mellotron of Adam Rossi, Future City is more swinging jazz, albeit from a guitar-centric POV. Be on the lookout for a cover of the “Andy Griffith Theme” television theme song, with some cool B3 comping and Cropper-esque guitar work that also sounds influenced by John Scofield. A noted rock instrumental guitarist, Goldstein’s acoustic work is also on display here as is his resonator and mandolin work. There’s plenty of keen sonic surprises on Little Muddy’s diverse sounding Future City."
MWE3
Door 15 (2009)

"You know something special is going on when a grizzled, jaded rock critic is introduced to a band and immediately seeks out it's back catalog- even going online to buy its out-of-print debut.

San Francisco's Little Muddy centers on guitarist Rich Goldstein, the only member still onboard from its self-titled 1999 debut. The instrumentalists' current cd Door 15 returns to a trio format, after 2008's The Road to Bodie- a solo collection of Goldstein's atmospheric vignettes.

On outings one and two (the second titled Mayan Mud), the group tackled covers from such varied sources as Stevie Wonder, AC/DC, Charlie Rich, Jimmy Webb ("Wichita Lineman, cut around the same time as Friends Of Dean Martinez's similar version), and film scorers Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein, and Lalo Schifrin. This time, the eclectics tap soundtracks by Nino Rota, ("The Godfather"), Quincy Jones ("Sanford and Son"), and John Barry ("Midnight Cowboy"), as well as tunes by Van Halen ("Jamie's Cryin'"), Lulu ("To Sir With Love"), and Neil Diamond ("GIrl, You'll Be A Woman Soon").

But the covers are like familiar little oases in between Goldstein's noir-ish compositions. His playing reveals influences from nearly every corner of the stylistic spectrum-from country to blues, rock, jazz, funk, and folk. Utilizing a '69 Telecaster or a late 50's "Jimmy Page" model Danelectro (for open tunings and slide) through a '65 blackface Fender Deluxe Reverb, his tone typically has some distortion, but also plenty of definition.

Martinez friends (and fans of other surf-noir artists like John Blakely and Terry "Buffalo " Ware) should gravitate to this, but so should followers of tone masters like Buchanan, Beck and Santana." 
—Vintage Guitar Magazine (Dan Forte) May 2010

"This is a very adventurous release. It's far outside what you might expect, but well worth your time. Some really excellent writing and superb playing. Don't go hunting surf here, just some sophisticated and well produced instrumentals." 
—Phil Dirt, Reverb Central Jan. 2010

Picks: Door 15, Caveman Radio, Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon, The Godfather, Daktari Safari, Jamie's Cryin'

Track by Track Review

Door 15
Superb fretless bass, sophisticated guitar lines occasionally suggesting Earl Hagen, tasteful rhythm guitar, and excellent drums. The violin raises it from cool to very cool!

Caveman Radio
Dirty tone, superb tribal drums, fluid (fuzz) bass, and an interesting guitar riff. "Caveman Radio" is angular and jazzy, but the drums shout jungle rock and roll!

Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon
Dirty guitar, whammy chords, rock drums, long bass notes, and underneath it all, The Union Gap's "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon." This is lumbering and dangerous, heavy and thumping. It's hard not to like this!

The Godfather
"The Godfather" flows slowly from long guitar lines. The bass and drums perfectly support this lovely but gritty version of Nino Rota's "Speak Softly Love" (theme from The Godfather film).

Daktari Safari
"Daktari Safari" evolves into a playful number with a fun riff and great drums. The bass rules! This is tribal and mysterious, and steeped in exotic jazz with fuzzy grit.

Jamie's Cryin'
Cryin' lap steel lays down sultry lines over an easy rhythm section. "Jamie's Cryin'" is smooth and silky, but gritty at times too. Very nice.

What Was Isn't There
Almost orchestral ambiance gives the electric guitar a wispy sound behind the acoustic guitar. Very pretty and delicate.

Sanford And Son
Soulful and slow, "Sanford and Son" uses a bit of wah wah to capture the period. It's the big grit guitar bridges that caught my attention. Nicely arranged.

To Sir With Love
This is a smooth and endearing version of Lulu and the Luvvers' "To Sir With Love." Jazzy and easy on the ears.

Midnight Cowboy
More film score music done with long flowing notes and a lush sound. Lush does not mean soft - the sound is crisp and direct. Very pretty.

The Primitive Channel
"The Primitive Channel" is a kind of interlude with various guitar sounds and feedback that closes out the CD.

"Door 15, the latest release from Little Muddy, arrived in the mail a few days ago. Americana Daily reviewed their third album, Road to Bodie, last year around this time and found it to be a pleasant surprise. As mentioned in that review, Little Muddy’s music is moody, mysterious and cinematic. After reading through the song selections on Door 15, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but received a whole other kind of surprise this time. 

Door 15, the title track and first cut on the album, could easily be the theme from a 1960’s secret agent film. The entire album plays like the soundtrack to a film about soundtracks, their cover of Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon would have been the perfect choice for Pulp Fiction if they had been around at the time. Tarantino should take note of these guys for his next film. 

There are several other theme covers including a funky Isaac Hayes wah-wah take on the theme from Sanford and Son, a haunting version of Midnight Cowboy and sandwiched in between is a complete instrumental overhaul of Lulu’s To Sir With Love. 

Mixed in among the covers are songs like Caveman Radio, the possible theme to a movie about pre-historic dee-jays, Daktari Safari, the perfect title, as well as the perfect concept, for Tarantino's next project; and What Was Isn't There, the theme song to your life. Primitive Channel, the final cut, could easily be the FADE TO BLACK - CREDITS ROLL background music for just about any film. 

While their name and image conjures up rural Americana, Little Muddy's sound is more Cinemacana (I think I just coined a term) music inspired by movie music - instrumental roots-music for movie music lovers. Close your eyes and give Door 15 a listen, the movie will unfold in your mind." 
—Americana Daily Nov.09

"The guitar-based instrumental rock art form is in fine form on the 2010 release of Door 15 by Little Muddy. Featuring the fine electric lead guitar work of Rich Goldstein—ably backed up here by Jeff Obee (bass) and Mark Abbott (drums)—Little Muddy incorporates both new music and covers of time honored classics from the pens of John Barry, Neil Diamond, Quincy Jones, Nino Rota and Don Black & Mark London, the latter two, the writers of the song classic “To Sir With Love”, one of the cool cover songs also featured on Door 15. Decked out with haunting cover art, the CD sounds great and the brilliant mix of covers and Little Muddy originals clearly makes it of interest to instrumental rock fans—spanning icons such as Hank Marvin & The Shadows to modern practitioners like Bill Frisell and others. Guitar fans can take a look and a listen to Door 15—and the other fine Little Muddy CDs available on CD, as well as available on downloads through iTunes—on the band’s well designed web site." —mwe3.com June 2010

"Little Muddy are currently a three-piece for their 4th cd, which is titled Door 15. Led by guitarist Rich Goldstein,who uses a '69 Tele and late 50's Danelectro for open tunings and slide work, their music is moody,mysterious and cinematic. The album has a rewardingly high proportion of atypical covers in it's track list, commencing with Neil Diamond's Girl You'll be a Woman Soon, around which the group weaves a hypnotic atmosphere. Laid back versions of the themes from The Godfather, To Sir With Love and Midnight Cowboy maintain that mystery vibe, and how about Quincy Jones(Sanford and Son) and Van Halen(Jamie's Cryin') for unusual sources. Renowned critic and player
Dan Forte loves the band and its style, which he calls surf-noir, while it has also been described as instrumental roots music for movie music lovers." —Alan Taylor Pipeline Magazine (UK) Autumn 2010

 

The Road to Bodie (2008)

"...Such knowledge, though, goes nowhere near describing the audio experience of The Road to Bodie. Imagine, if you will, the spoken word bits on Richmond Fontaine’s ‘Post To Wire’ and reinvent them in your mind as musical pieces. These aren’t songs in any sensible definition of the word but ‘interludes’ set to music, each looking perhaps for a visual home or accompaniment. Its no surprise to learn that the band’s music has been used on several soundtracks , or that the press release slips in a word or two about being available for hire (presumably aimed at film and TV producers). The feel is undeniably ‘western/americana’ – there are lots of guitars – acoustic/slide/resonator/electric – but each is used incredibly sparsely... ...As stated, this record is pretty much like a shop window for those looking for someone to soundtrack their movie, but it can be listened to in its own right; the lack of vocals sends one to the record sleeve to hunt down the names of the tracks, and its here that one begins to compose ones own story to try and tie the music together. A cursory glance at those titles (examples: “Its Up Above Us Now”, “I Have To Leave At Three a.m.”, “There’s Still Too Much Radiation Outside”, “Fall Leaves With Murder”) should tell you the kind of territory to go down." Americana UK, March 08

"These are brief and provocative cinematic soundscapes certain to please some, but also to puzzle some listeners. 28 tracks in all, each is mysterious and evanescent, 13 of the tracks each clocking in at under 60 seconds. By so doing, Little Muddy generates serious suspense, and an atmosphere both spooky and moving. Indie filmmakers needing a soundtrack, take note."Minor 7th , April 08

"28 short-guitar driven instrumental tracks that brood but provide enough light that the cumulative effect is uplifting, "The Road To Bodie" is the soundtrack to whatever is on your mind at the moment you are listening. That gives this set an approachability and easy but epic feel. Little Muddy's simple tunes include shades of Americana, blues, and ambient, and each track give you something to chew on. What easily could have been bogged down in repetition or padding is instead a truly deep listen. There are two versions of several songs-"It's Up Above Us Now," "I Had To Leave At 3A.M," "We Found It In 1947," "Fall Leaves With Murder"-that can stand as centerpieces for the collection. By letting the listener into the construction of certain songs, Little Muddy implies that all of these songs are in various stages of development, subject to change, whim, and a deeper understanding of the song. The use of slide, electric and acoustic, helps "Rural Route 4," "There's Too Much Radiation Outside" and, among others, "3 Days After Annihilation" sound traditional and experimental at once. "The Road To Bodie" shows once again how the Blues are timeless, and even ambient noise builds off of its legacy. So this is noir-ish roots music with a cinematic eye for the larger picture. Little Muddy makes short brave statements that blend visual and sonic touchstones into a dreamy, rough-edge mix."Music Emissions May 2008

"...As the opening cut drifted in, and I mean that literally - like a wave washing up on the shore - I was immediately reminded of early Fleetwood Mac and the Peter Green/Jeremy Spencer/Danny Kirwan soft acoustic blues, or maybe something on Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Trilogy album - From the Beginning, perhaps. The sound was familiar, soft and mellow with an edgy-bluesy undertone. It felt like I'd heard it before, but not quite like this, and not in quite some time. The songs blended together like streams spilling into a river, like rivers spilling into the sea...an ocean of soundwaves washing up on the shore. As I read through the promo kit, there was much mention of bluesy instrumental landscapes, roots music and movie themes, with comparisons to guitar players like Roy Buchanan and Tom Verlaine. No mention of Fleetwood Mac or Peter Green and surprisingly enough, no mention of Pink Floyd and the soundtrack to More or Mudmen an instrumental cut from Obscured by Clouds, their soundtrack for the French film La Vallée - both albums had wandered across my mind as I listened closer. Maybe I'm showing my age or maybe I'm way out in left field...but that's the best part about discovering a new group or artist and hearing their music for the first time. It conjures up feelings and thoughts that aren't biased by preconceptions, that are pure and spontaneous and that allow you to reach your own conclusions, to make your own comparisons based on your own musical history. I think comparisons with Mac and Floyd are valid, and for me, that places Little Muddy - The Road to Bodie in pretty good company. By the way, it is the perfect soundtrack for watching waves wash up on the shore or watching the sun come up on one of those Sunday mornings coming down...like I mentioned earlier about the cover art, the music is moody and mysterious. It's ambient, cinematic (in a film-noir kind of a way) and an instrumental treat the likes of which I haven't heard in a very long time." -Americana Daily Dec. 2008

 

Mayan Mud(2003)

"Nothing like some good instrumentals. There are sometimes when Rich Goldstein's guitar reminds me of Dick Dale surf sound, but he always ends up coming back to the blues to get grounded. The album would make for great soundtrack music for a road trip scene, especially a track like "dark Alley Swing". This is one of the coolest instrumental albums I've heard in some time." -Musicemissions.com, March 2004

"The most effective instrumentals don't just convey rhythm and melody, they evoke sonic landscapes with near cinematic clarity. That every cut of Mayan Mud (Shoeless Records) transports listeners to exotic places speaks to the expertise of San Francisco's Little Muddy. Rich Goldstein(guitars), Scott Shaw(bass and keyboards), Vince Littleton (drums),are masters of mood, hooks, tone, and dramatic effect. "Dark Alley Swing" and "Nitro-Burnin and Modified" are the nearest to blues, but an adventurous nature is hinted at by upside-down photographs, country twanging and bends, jazzy chording, bluesy snarls,and splashes of surf abound. They cover Floyd Cramer, Elmer Bernstein , Henry Mancini, and put AC/DC on the open range- is compelling and rewarding.," -Blues Revue Magazine, Dec/Jan 2004

"All instrumental greasy-jazzy blues is what you'll find on Mayan Mud, the latest EP length cd from the Bay-area trio Little Muddy. Centered around the melodic sting of guitarist Rich Goldstein's six string, the band's tasteful less-is-more approach works well, creating a virtual soundtrack befitting a Quintin Tarantino movie, a top down drive through America's heartland, or a life-done-me-wrong-but-i'm-getting-by character study. Sinuous slide and gnarling acoustic guitars lend even more flavor to the material. In short, if you like instrumental , roots-influenced music that literally transports you to a scenic setting, check out the Little Muddy offering Mayan Mud." —Guitar Nine Records, Oct/Nov 2003.

"... it's like a film score for a bungled heist B-movie, the soundtrack to movements in shadows, pools at seedy motels and men with guns. The film reference continues with a bossa nov version of "The Magnificent Seven". The two best tracks are "Giant Steps no. 1 and 2. These are short tracks that are softer meditations, moonlight on sand instead of the full glare of the desert sun. If you need a soundtrack for your tawdry life then try Mayan Mud." — Americana-UK, Oct 2003.

"Attention Sonny Landreth, Calexico and The Iguanas fans- Little Muddy is something that you will like.Impressive melodies, hypnotising grooves of a refreshing beauty, something to bite into." —Real Roots Cafe(Netherlands), Oct 2003.

"Little Muddy are making their own sound and this is a good thing. This is an unusual sound but it is refreshing to hear great bands that are still creating their own style of music." —Roots Music Report, Nov 2003.

"The photo in the cd insert gives a good visual interpretation of Little Muddy's sound- a vast, barren landscape just waiting for a score." —Ink19, Nov 2003.

 

Little Muddy(1999)

"Rich Goldstein's attention getting guitar conjures Roy Buchanan, The Hellecasters, Arlen Roth, Tom Verlaine (really!),and others...the covers—"Son of a Preacher Man","Wichita Lineman", Stevie Wonder's "I Wish",Lalo Schifrin's "Mission Accomplished", Charlie Rich's "Behind Closed Doors"- suggest the Bay Area trio's range of interests. It's a wild ride, from "Border Toasts", to "Mohave Offramp" to "Lilac Lane", with moments lulling and bracing along the way."—Blues Review Magazine, December 2000

"...but somehow, Little Muddy's presentations keep urban life at arms length. You may be daydreaming the big city, but you're propped on a porch in the Dust Bowl,languorously watching the tumbleweed drift by, or you're in a dark wood immersed in what Goldstein calls that "Ozarky spooky character"...—San Jose Metro, October 2000

Guitar and Drums Mojo- Making diverse instrumental recordings of blues with jazz, these San Francisco musicians have just as much rock in the blood, for all intents and purposes. Dig their funky instrumental of Dusty's"Preacher Man",Lalo Schifrin's "Mission Accomplished"; Stevie Wonder's "I Wish", and Jimmy Webb's immortal"Wichita Lineman" Comprised of Rich Goldstein on guitars, Scott Shaw on bass guitar, and Josh Wheeler on the big drums, Little Muddy effortlessly greases the large soul of grungy blues.—Hear Music Stores Featured Artist, Spring 2000

"Bought this disk on total intuition and found it to be full of totally refreshing and honest sounds. A lot of coolslide stuff. Especially liked their title song , "Little Muddy".—Satisfied Amazon customer, Spring 2000

"...stinging rasp-toned guitar..."—Lee Hildebrand, East Bay Express, Fall 2000