Mouth of Steel marks the return of Canada’s legendary bluesman King Biscuit Boy to recording after an unfortunate 10-year absence. Biscuit, also known as Richard Newell, of Hamilton, Ont., apprenticed with Rompin’ Ronnie Hawkins and served with the Canadian blues band Crowbar before striking out on his own. His confident comeback album ably showcases his gutsy voice and mournful harmonica style. The piano boogie of “Route 90” and the Latin-tinged instrumental “Necromonica” display his considerable talents and those of his skilful session players. The album’s real gem is “Done Everything I Can,” on which Biscuit bends harmonica notes as soulfully as he contorts his own gravelly vocals. Mouth of Steel communicates enough intense emotion to reaffirm King Biscuit Boy’s claim to the throne of Canadian blues.
Originally published in Maclean’s 9 July 1984