Blues Bytes


September 2014

an associate
Order this CD today

Grady Champion
Bootleg Whiskey
Malaco Records

Grady Champion

So far, 2014 is shaping up to be a banner year for Grady Champion. He recently graced the cover of Living Blues as part of the magazine’s profile of up-and-coming harmonica players, and his new record label, DeChamp, has issued a pair of critically acclaimed discs from Eddie Cotton and JJ Thames. Champion himself joined the musical roster at Malaco Records, with the label just releasing his debut for them, Bootleg Whiskey.

The charging opener, “Beg, Borrow, Steal,” kicks off the disc on a high note with some nice harp from Champion backed by Taylor Scott’s guitar. Mid-tempo tracks like “Home Alone,” which features a strong vocal from Champion, and “Ten Dollars” benefit from a tight horn section arranged by Harrison Callaway.

The blues is always in the forefront on a Grady Champion disc, but it wouldn’t be a Malaco release without a healthy dose of blues and R&B thrown into the mix, which suits Champion just fine. The downhome soul/blues of the title track, penned by the great George Jackson, fits both categories well. Ernie Johnson’s “Don’t Waste My Time” is in the same format, but with a bit of Texas spice thrown in thanks to the punchy horns. “I Tripped and Fell in Love” has a greasy Memphis soul kick.

“South Side,” one of several tracks written or co-written by Darrell Luster of the Sensational Nightingales, is a deep soul-drenched keeper, with Champion turning in a great vocal performance. “Who Dat?” is a moody soul ballad with tons of sweaty atmosphere, and “Here We Go Y’all” is a breathless blues rocker. The closing track, “White Boy With The Blues,” is a moving narrative featuring backing vocals from The Crowns of Joy and guitar work from Mike Griffin and Jimmy Johnson.

Bootleg Whiskey is the definitive Grady Champion release to date, showing his versatility as a performer and songwriter and the ease with which he moves from blues to soul to R&B. With this excellent release, the rest of the blues world should finally catch on to what a lot of us already know --- Grady Champion is the real deal.

--- Graham Clarke
Read Graham's blog


[Pick Hit][What's New][Surprise][Flashback][Feedback][Back Issues][Home Page]


The Blues Bytes URL... 
Revised: September 16, 2014 - Version 1.00
All contents Copyright © 2014, Blue Night Productions. All rights reserved.