Stuff I've Been Through
Alabama Mike has always
been a very charismatic performer, truly one of
the better blues singers currently practicing.
He’s also a compelling songwriter whose style is
unique and deeply honest, dealing with issues
that strike close to home with nearly everyone
who’s in the world today.
His latest effort, Stuff I’ve Been Through
(Little Village Foundation), features 11 original tunes, nine of which
were recorded at Kid Andersen’s Greaseland USA in San Jose. The singer
is backed by a powerhouse group of musicians which include four
guitarists of note (Andersen, Bobby Young, Rusty Zinn, and Anson
The title track opens the disc, a deep soulful blues
with a powerful vocal from Mike and guitar work from Zinn. The funky
“Fat Shame” appears in two parts (the second part near the conclusion of
the album), with Mike testifying defiantly, but with good humor, that
he’s happy with his shape, even if no one else is. These tracks reminded
me of some of Lee “Shot” Williams’ tunes.
“This Ain’t No Dizneyland” is a moody track that states
not all is as warm and cozy in California as advertised, and “Goodbye
Tamika” is a soul burner that puts an end to a relationship going
nowhere (nice work on tenor sax from Bernard Anderson).
“King Cock” is an update of those classic blues tunes
about being the main rooster in the barnyard, and Funderburgh
contributes his stinging fretwork on this track. On the sweaty blues
rocker “Pine Bluff, Arkansas (Big Fine Woman),” Mike recounts his first
love, telling an entertaining story in the process.
The next track, “Woman On The Warpath,” is more of a
straight rocker with Young providing some sizzling guitar, and “Damage
Control” is a fine slice of southern soul. Mike’s vocals are a tight fit
to the various genres covered on the album.
The final two tracks were recorded live. The
straight-ahead blues “Mississippi” was recorded at the Poor House Bistro
in San Jose, with Andersen on guitar, Rick Estrin on harmonica, and lots
of crowd participation encouraged by Mike. The moving gospel tune that
closes the disc, “God Is With You,” was recorded at Groove Now (which
looks like a really cool place) in Basel, Switzerland. Mike really
demonstrates his vocal chops on this track (with Vicki Randle and Lisa
Leuschner Andersen joining in) and I’m glad they included this track on
If you’re into the blues at all, you definitely need to
check out Alabama Mike if you haven’t already. He’s certainly one of the
most dynamic and exciting vocalists around, whether he’s singing blues,
soul, R&B, or gospel. He’s also an entertaining songwriter whose
material is completely engaging.
Stuff I’ve Been Through is a disc that you need
to add to your collection as soon as possible.
--- Graham Clarke