There's nothing wrong with blues guitarist Bobby Manriquez's solo debut that another half dozen tunes wouldn't cure. Clocking in at 30 minutes and featuring a couple of fragmentary tracks, "Another Shade(s) of Blues" is over before you know it.
A pity, too, since Manriquez has a winning way with the blues. Best known for his work with Nils Lofgren, Roy Buchanan and Wilson Pickett, Manriquez covers a lot of ground here in a hurry. On "The Boogie Man's Comin'," he updates an old John Lee Hooker theme in a manner that also suggests the influence of Stevie Ray Vaughan. On the album's title track, Manriquez conjures a dreamy, minor-key mood that nicely suits his tenor voice and shimmering guitar work. His fluid soloing on "Goin' Up," his stinging tone on "Devil Heart" and his funk rap on "Family Traditions" also help illustrate his versatility and promise. The Vaughan-like "How We Start" and the spooky instrumental "b2k" brings the album to a close.
Put Lofgren down for an assist -- he plays keyboards on two tracks -- and credit should also go to the rotating cast of rhythm section players who keep Manriquez both loose and inspired.
Appearing Friday at the Outta the Way Cafe. To hear a free Sound Bite from Bobby Manriquez, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8102. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)