Friend and fellow critic Dylann DeAnna has launched a new label CDS
Records, and with their first two releases have chosen two veterans of
the Southern Soul fraternity, Dicky Williams and Charles Wilson. It's
more than ten years since I held a new Dicky Williams in my hand,
CDS Records' I'm Back Again. That
was about the end of the successful run Ichiban Records had. I'm pleased
to report that his voice has not diminished these many years and he
still has that nasty pen when it comes to songwriting. His late '80s
song, "Come Back P***y," was a well played tune around these parts,
as was "The Same Motel."
This CD centers around Dicky's dog fixation. Tracks like "Dog Kinda
Love," "Did The Dog Get It All?," and "Treat Me Like A Dog"
all have Dicky's sense of humor at the core. In "Treat Me Like A Dog", Dicky takes
a different approach. Since society treats their dogs with ice cream and
cake, diamond dog collars, and chauffeured limos, he says "go ahead and
treat me like a dog, babe."
"Lovin' One Woman At a Time" takes us back
to Dicky's deep soul roots. In many ways this CD took me back to those
partyin' '80s days when the Ichiban LPs from Gary B.B. Coleman and Artie White were on the turntable.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the fine guitar
playing of Ken Massey, as well as the overall great production and sound.
Perhaps not a home run this time out, but definitely a three bagger. I
guess, at times Dicky must have been dogging it.
I have been less than overwhelmed by Charles Wilson's output over the
last few years. He had a handful of good tracks spread over the half
dozen or so albums he made for Ecko Records and a few over the ones he
made under his own Wilson imprint. I was very impressed with the bluesy
Delmark release of a few years ago which featured his uncle, Little
Milton, so I approached this new release, The After Party (CDS
Records), with great anxiety.
I saw Charles
Wilson perform at the Music Awards (formerly The Handy Awards) a few
years ago, so I knew he had the chops to pull off another great CD, and
I wasn't disappointed. This release has ten great new songs and a bonus
hidden track, "Mississippi Boy," produced by the astounding Simeo. This is
the same song that Denise LaSalle did on her latest CD. Of course, on her
release, it was "Mississippi Woman."
This release opens with "That
Boom"....."that girl won't dance no more without that boom-ba-boom
boom boom ... you get the message. Next up is James Smith's "Plumber
Man," a great track in the Tyrone Davis mold. With "Watch It Shake,"
"That's The Way We Want It" and "The After Party," all should be hits
with all you steppers out there.
We're also treated to this year's new Christmas hit, "Christmas in
Memphis," a track that will get a lot of holiday airplay, and my own
favorite, "Candlelight," a track written by Simeo and first heard on the
great 2005 Al Lindsey CD. It's a tribute to Marvin Gaye and gets a great
Although heavily programmed throughout, this release shows that if
engineered by the right person (Simeo) it can work. If you want to know
what's being played in the southern cities, this CD is an excellent
place to start.
Visit www.BluesCritic.com for more about Charles
Wilson and Dicky Williams. There's a great interview with Dicky and lots
of other great info. All the best to Dylann and CDS Records. I hear they
have a lot of great label signings coming up in the very near future.
Until a few days before I received Goin' To Mississipi (Delta
Roots Records), I didn't know there was a Z.Z. Hill Jr. Now of course we all know, Z.Z. Hill Sr.,don't we?? You
know ......."Down Home Blues." Yes, that was Sr., who premiered perhaps the
second most performed soul/blues song of all time (right behind "Mustang
Sally"). No, thank the lord, it's not on this release.
So, what does Jr.
sound like? At times he tries to sound like Sr., with that raspy growl,
and at other times he sounds like a different singer altogether. It
wasn't until I read in the liner notes that all tracks were recorded
between 1995 and 2007. I realized the different singing styles were
perhaps a function of the 12 years it took to record and release this CD.
Goin' To Mississipi was
produced by Twist Turner, a name familiar to many blues fans (he also
penned 10 of the 12 songs). All of the tracks have real musicians,
such as Maurice John Vaughn and Melvin Taylor on guitars (not on all
tracks), and of course Twist Turner on drums and percussion. I was
surprised to see that background singing was done by Pirkle Lee Moses
and The Eldorados (for all you doo-wop fans) and two tracks list Z.Z.
Hill on harmony vocals (I presume that's dad).
So, what's the music like? Pretty damn good ... one of the better soul
blues releases of the year. From the opening "Lean on Me" (not the Bill
Withers track), a catchy upbeat tune with that aforementioned rasp,
followed by the smooth crooning of "It Ain't Easy," the excellent
songwriting and catchy hooks immediately hold your attention. One of the
non-originals, "Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You," is okay, but no match
for Wilson Pickett's definitive version.
There's an excellent deep soul
track, "Now That I've Gone," six minutes of pure emotion that should be
this release's most requested track. Included is a fine cover version of
Luther Ingram's "Looking For A New Love Tonight" and " Down Home Girl (Goin'
To Mississippi)," with the great Eldorados backing, and closes with the
bluesy "Cry A Tear For You," all strong tracks you will want to hear
Visit Z.Z. Jr. on www.deltaroots.com;
you'll be glad you did.
Highly recommended for any lover of soul/blues, horns, and the golden
days of Malaco.
It's been more than ten years since David Brinston burst upon the
Southern soul scene with the classic "Hit And Run," a track that still
gets it's share of airplay today. After appearing on a handful of
labels, he seems to have found a home at Ecko Records, releasing his
strongest CD, Here I Go Again, in years.
While no one track jumps out as the "hit," it's
the collective feel of the whole release that make it so memorable. It
opens with the title track, a dancer that sets the tone for the rest.
Although heavily synthesized throughout, Brinston's smooth vocals and
his ability to present a song to its fullest all add to the overall
feel. Take as an example the two songs here that appeared on the final
Bill Coday release he did for this same label, "Back It Up And Put It
Here" and "Work That Thang." In Brinston's hands they sound fresh and
revitalized. "Baby Let Me Hit It One More Time" (No, Yankee fans, he's
not talking about a baseball), should get many requests, as will "You
Took That Dog In Me," but my favorite tracks are the self-penned ballad
"Ain't It Funny" and the novelty "Too Many Women."
All in all, this is another solid release to add to Ecko's growing
catalog, This is their 95th release. Wow!
Check out their fine web site
While you're there, check out the killer Carl
Sims video for "It Ain't A Juke Joint Without The Blues." For all you
big city folks, you can see what a real Southern juke joint is all
Great job, Ecko, and thanks for the great work you're doing.
Talk Memphis (Antone’s Records) is Toni Price’s first release in four
years and it may be her best yet. As the title indicates, this set is
rooted deep in the sounds of the Bluff City. Some listeners may not be
familiar with Ms. Price since she’s basically a homebody, preferring to
perform mainly around the Austin area (though she recently relocated to
San Diego). If that’s the case, one listen to Talk Memphis will send
them backpedaling to see what they’ve previously missed.
Price’s taste in material has always been impeccable, and the songs on
this collection are no different. The title track, long associated with
its composer (Jesse Winchester), may not be so any more. Price wraps her
alluring drawl around it and claims it for her own. Allen Toussaint’s
“Mean Man” gets the full Memphis treatment, punctuated by the Texas
Horns, and Jeff Barry’s “Am I Groovin’ U,” with its greasy funk
backdrop, would be a hit single in a perfect world. Another hidden gem
is the obscure Isaac Hayes/David Porter track, “Leftover Love.”
Price’s longtime musical partner, Gwil Owen, also contributes four songs
that blend seamlessly with the classic soul tracks, the best of which
are the seductive closing track, “The Power,” and the rocking soul
number, “What I’m Puttin’ Down.” “Right Where I Belong,” contributed by
Austin up-and-comer Wendy Colonna, is another winner.
Providing outstanding support are guitarists Derek O’Brien (who also
produced the disc), David Grissom and Johnny Moeller, two ultra-tight
rhythm sections, and the aforementioned Texas Horns. Marcia Ball also
stops by to contribute keyboards on one track.
Hopefully, Talk Memphis will get Toni Price the audience she deserves.
--- Graham Clarke
Downchild has been a Canadian blues institution for nearly 40 years,
formed in 1969 by guitarist Donnie Walsh and his late brother Hock. In
the ’70s, the band’s original songs and tasty renditions of jump blues
classics captivated and inspired a young Canadian comedian named Dan Aykroyd, who joined forces with his fellow blues-loving buddy, John Belushi,to form the Blues Brothers, and even covered a couple of Downchild songs on their first album.
The band’s latest release, Live at the Palais Royale (Linus
Entertainment), captures their live show in grand style. Lead singer and
harmonica player Chuck Jackson sounds fantastic out front, as does the
band, which includes Walsh (AKA Mr. Downchild) on guitar and harmonica,
Michael Fonfara on keyboards, Gary Kendall on bass, Mike Fitzpatrick on
drums and the blistering horn section of Pat Carey (sax) and Peter Jeffrey
The set clocks in at just under an hour and features 11 tracks, most
of which will be familiar to Downchild fans. The lively opening cut,
“It’s Been So Long,” gives the horn section a chance to strut their
stuff. “Wednesday Night Blues” is a gritty blues track with one of
Jackson’s most soulful vocals. Blues Brothers fans will recognize “(I
Got Everything I Need) Almost,” while “I’ve Been a Fool” is a humorous
number featuring Walsh’s spoken vocal.
“It’s A Matter of Time” features some scorching slide work from Walsh,
as does “Mr. Confused.” “What You Gonna Do” is a sparkling number
propelled by a quasi Bo Diddley beat. The closing track, “Soaring,”
features both Walsh and Jackson on harp and surely had the crowd on
One of the best things about Downchild is that they’re not just
comfortable playing downhome blues and soul as well as jump blues, they
excel at all three. There’s a reason that they’ve been Canada’s favorite
blues band for five decades. One listen to Live at the Palais Royale and
--- Graham Clarke
Big George Brock has certainly made up for lost time over the past three
years. Live at Seventy-Five is his fourth recording in the past three
years, his third for Cat Head. Recorded at the Ground Zero Blues Club in
Clarksdale, MS, the disc captures a typical Big George Brock set,
recorded in May, 2007 (a week before Brock’s 75th birthday) with support
from Riley Coatie, Sr. and Bill Abel on guitar, Barry Bays on bass, and
Riley Coatie, Jr. on drums.
Brock is introduced by blues radio legend (and KFFA’s King Biscuit Time
show host) Sonny Payne. The band eases into the opening cut, a loose and
easy take on “Cut You Loose,” like they’ve played it all their lives.
Other covers include Howlin’ Wolf’s “Forty-Four Blues,” and Little
Walter Jacob’s “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” Brock doesn’t possess
the technical proficiency of a Little Walter on harmonica, but he more
than makes up for it with his boundless enthusiasm and showmanship.
There’s also an energetic rendition of J. T. Brown’s “Short Dress Woman”
and the infamous “Jody” closes out the set.
Brock’s originals include several gems, including “All Night Long,” “No
No Baby,” and “Bring The Blues Back Home.” Like on his previous
releases, Brock’s compositions are steeped in ’50s and early ’60s
Chicago blues tradition.
The band provides terrific support. Brock’s longtime associates Coatie,
Sr. and Abel are first-rate on guitar. Bays, a music teacher at nearby
Delta State University, provides a steady foundation on bass, and Coatie,
Jr. is a potential star in the making on drums, mixing the old school
blues sound of Sam Carr with healthy doses of more modern funk.
If you like your blues rough and ragged, and like they used to play them
40 or 50 years ago, Big George Brock is your man. Like Payne
declared in his introduction, there aren’t very many “left from the old
school,” so it’s wonderful that Brock is getting this opportunity to be
--- Graham Clarke
It’s been three years since Jook Bourke’s last release, the highly
entertaining and thought-provoking My Mojo’s Just Too Weak. His latest
release, Just A Minute, offers more great songwriting and performances.
Bourke typically eschews the traditional approach to acoustic blues,
adding drum or percussion tracks to a lot of his songs. His lyrics
sometime venture away from traditional blues forms, and sometimes
his arrangements add elements of rock, country, and even gospel.
That being said, he’s a compelling, always rewarding performer, whether
he’s singing about his favorite spice in “Hot Pepper Sauce,” which might
have you reaching for your bottle of the stuff, or the perils we
Southerners dread every year about this time in “It’s A Hurricane,” or
even those down points in your everyday life that can’t always be
explained (“Sometimes I Need To Feel This Way”). “Somebody’s Callin’” is
even a reminder of those dark days before caller ID was the norm and you
just couldn’t be sure who that was on the other end of the line.
The title track is a sweet love song, as is “Nobody Can Do What I Can
Do.” “I Need To Get Home” recounts the hardship of being separated from
a loved one, and the inspirational “Reach Out” is also a standout.
There’s also “Area Code 212,” a hilarious jibe at New York City, and
Bourke closes out the disc with “Boca Raton,” a tribute to a beautiful
city that looks even better when stuck up North during the winter.
Just A Minute is another winner from Jook Bourke, loaded with masterful
guitar work and highly original songwriting. Go to
check it out, and visit
www.jookbourke.com while you’re online.
--- Graham Clarke
Dave Fields’ new CD, Time's A Wastin' (FMI Records), is a spirited
journey through modern blues, with healthy doses of honky tonk, rockabilly,
and even a little jazz mixed in, which makes for an exhilarating
Fields has been involved with the NYC music scene for a couple of
decades. He served as bandleader/writer/director for the New Voices of
Freedom, who, in the late ’80s, appeared with U2 in Rattle and Hum, and
has worked with others like Aretha Franklin, Lenny Kravitz, Sean Lennon,
and Tommy James. He also has TV, film, radio, and Broadway credits, and
has also worked with NYC blues notables Frankie Paris and Sweet Georgia
Brown, and he produced Roxy Perry’s Back In Bluesville, which won Best
Self-Produced CD at the 2006 International Blues Challenge. In addition to all that, he’s a
powerful performer himself, singing and playing guitar and keyboards.
Time’s A Wastin’ gives Fields a chance to put his talents on display.
Fields wrote or co-wrote all 12 tracks, which range from the
rockabilly sensibilities of “Let’s Get Shakin’,” to the irresistibly
funky “DF’s Blues,” to the sweet southern rock sounds of “I’ll Do You
Right,” “Frenzy,” and “Keep It Up,” to the deep soul of “You Don’t
Know.” Indeed, there’s something for blues fans of every background on
Time’s A Wastin’, as “Rabbi Blues” is a clever and lively offering for
the Jewish blues fan base.
Fields plays most of the instruments on these tracks, usually guitar,
organ, piano, but he plays all the instruments on the first and last
tracks. While he has a highly kinetic guitar attack, his vocals are as
smooth as his keyboard prowess. On the other ten tracks, he gets strong
support from a talented group of timekeepers, including Lee Finkelstein
(Blues Brothers), Mark Greenberg (Dickey Betts), and Popa Chubby alums
Dave Moore and Wes Little. Also pitching in are harp ace Rob Paparozzi
(Blues Brothers), bassist Erik Boyd (Black 47), and Paul Shapiro (Queen
Latifah) and Rob Chaseman (Melvin Sparks, Jimmy McGriff) on saxes.
Time’s A Wastin’ is a strong, confident release that will please fans of
high-energy modern blues.
--- Graham Clarke
I can still remember the first time I ever heard Son Seals. I was a
neophyte blues fan trying to build up my knowledge by buying any blues
compilations I could find. I stumbled onto a cassette of Alligator’s
first Genuine Houserockin’ Music collection (which, even though it was a
budget sampler, is still one of my all-time favorite blues records).
Seals had the last cut on the first side, the incendiary “Goin’ Home
(Where Women Got Meat On Their Bones).” I was hooked after one listen to
the gruff, almost roaring vocal and the screaming guitar that was seared
into my brain. I played that cassette over and over and over until it
finally started making that hideous squeaking sound that cassettes would
sometimes do. I was eventually able to find all of Seals’ albums on
cassette on Alligator, many of which earned Exalted Transfer Status and
were upgraded to CD when I switched formats.
VizzTone Label Group has released a documentary DVD on Seals called
Journey Through The Blues: The Son Seals Story, a fantastic tribute to
the guitarist. The 30-minute documentary features Seals telling his own
story, along with thoughts and reminiscences by Seals’ sister Kat Sims,
his son Rodney, Alligator’s Bruce Iglauer, Koko Taylor, Dr. John, Lonnie
Brooks, and several others. Several Seals classic tunes are interspersed
throughout the documentary as well, including “Bad Axe,” “I Believe,”
“Funky Bitch,” and his signature instrumental, “Hot Sauce.”
Seals was raised in Arkansas, where his dad was a musician and also
owned a juke joint, the Dipsy Doodle. Iglauer chillingly recounts Seals
telling him about the first time he played cards as a youth in the club
and stood on a dead body to reach the table. There are also many other
stories that illustrate Seals’ passion for music and for life, and the
pain he suffered throughout, whether it was his lengthy battle with
diabetes, his bout with discrimination on a trip back home, or his brush
with death that left a bullet lodged in his jaw near his brain. Through
all his personal trials and ordeals, Seals never stopped playing the
blues with the conviction and passion that put him in a class by
Also included in the DVD are a trio of live performances, a 1998 date
from the House of Blues, and 2001 appearances at Rooster Blues in
Chicago and the Chicago Blues Festival. While these are great
performances and capture Seals at his best, they leave you craving more.
Hopefully, a full DVD of his live performances is in the works.
When Seals passed away in 2004, after his long struggle with diabetes,
the blues world lost one of its most distinctive voices. Koko Taylor put
it best when she said, “….when you hear him play, everybody knows that’s
Son Seals in there playing.” If you are a Son Seals fan, this is
absolutely essential viewing.
--- Graham Clarke
Gotta Get The Feeling Back Again (Dr. Sam Records) is the 9th one that
Stacy Mitchhart has recorded, and
unfortunately, the first one that I’ve heard.
It’s mainly funky blues with a touch of Nashville soul, very well-produced, and a well-balanced mix of seven original tunes and four cover
This guy comes from a very musical family, hailing from Cincinnati,
Ohio, and grew up listening to a lot of varied influences, mainly jazz
and soul music – it shows!
He has been on the receiving end of numerous music awards, including the
prestigious “Albert King Award” from the Blues Foundation – so you know
that he is a complete musician before you even put this CD in the
Very cleverly (I think), Mitchhart has included a Led Zeppelin number –
and why not? They started off playing some good blues, before they got
into the heavy rock scene.
“Black Dog/Whole Lotta Love” comes up as track three on the CD and opens
with some beautiful slide guitar. This isn’t just a cover version played
close to the original, it has been adapted and changed slightly by
Mitchhart. He brings a more bluesy flavour to this music, and it’s
He also makes nice work of “I’ll Play The Blues For You,” the Allman
Brothers' “Whipping Post” and Little Milton’s “Blue Monday,” particularly
“Whipping Post” which I actually think I prefer to the original – almost
eight minutes of superb music!
Obviously, there’s no secret to the fact that I liked his version of
“Whipping Post,” but I also have to give a mention to one of his
originals – “Dog House Blues.” This is foot tapping blues at it’s best –
some great fiddle playing by Greg Perkins adding loads of flavour.
Now which do I pick as favourite track on the CD?
This is another CD well worth adding to your collection – thanks to
Betsie Brown & Crows Feet Productions for bringing it to my notice.
Andy Martin is an Englishman living in Italy – an unusual combination
for a bluesman!
However, he spent a lot of time in Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana, where he
picked up a good grounding in blues music, and he has played with greats
such as Champion Jack Dupree, Popa Chubby, Lazy Lester, Guitar Shorty
Chosen Ground (Pagina 3 Records) is Andy Martin’s 6th CD, and he has also written music for films
and documentaries – he is a very accomplished slide guitarist, and plays
some mean harmonica, as this album shows.
The CD is a mix of originals, written by Andy Martin, and covers of some
all time classic blues numbers – and it opens with the old Robert
Johnson song “Last Fair Deal Gone Down.”
This track shows just how good a musician this guy is and it leaves the
listener wanting more.
Track two is a Sleepy John Estes number, “Special Agent,” and it’s
followed by Big Bill Broonzy’s “Texas Tornado” – both of these tracks
are equally as good as track one and you know that you’re in for some
good blues here.
The cover versions are then broken up by the first of four original tracks
written by Andy Martin, “Swamp Fever” – a track that serves to show that
this man can not only play the blues, he can write it too!
This is a slow, moody, blues with a bit of Louisiana flavour – it would
suit Tab Benoit’s blues style so well that maybe he should think about
One of my favourite Bukka White tracks is next – "Jitterbug Swing" – and
the slide work really does this song complete justice. So much so that I
would love to hear it as an instrumental.
Martin then drops in three original tracks of his own – “Theme 4,” a Ry
Cooder-type instrumental, “Trouble Came Knockin’ ,“ a nice medium tempo
foot tapper, and the title track to the CD, “Chosen Ground.” This
emotional track put me in mind of some of Jackson Browne’s work.
Some more covers follow – tracks by Sleepy John Estes, Son House, King
Oliver, Willie Johnson, Leadbelly, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Fred McDowell
– a nice mix, all of which show this musician off at his best.
I have to admit to not liking the King Oliver track, “Doctor Jazz,” as
much as the others – but I’ve been trying to pick a favourite out of the
other 15 tracks, and it’s so difficult because they are all just so
I think it has to be between Martin’s own “Swamp Fever” and the Sleepy
John Estes song “Goin’ To Brownsville.”
Get your hands on this CD and see what I’m talking about.
Top Night Out (BMM Records) is The Detonators' fourth release, but
this is the first album of theirs
that I’ve heard.
I have to admit at the outset to having a bit of bias when it comes to
Australian “blues” bands – I’ve never heard one yet that seems to have
the same idea as the rest of us as to what constitutes blues.
This band has changed my perception of Australian bands completely, and
they don’t just play a mix of any old blues – they’ve taken the path of
jump blues, and they know their subject!
It’s always good to hear a band play original material, and this band
plays a lot of their own stuff, but the best yardstick by which to judge a band is to hear them cover something traditional.
They helped me out in this respect by including on their CD a favourite
of mine – Lazy Lester’s “Sugar Coated Love.” Their version is very
slightly slower in tempo than the one by the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and
equally as good to my ears.
Once you hear this track (unfortunately, it’s track 12 out of 13), you
know that this is a band that understands their genre, and you can see
where a lot of influence comes from in the tracks that they’ve written
The main vocals are by James Moloney, who plays a mean harmonica as
well, and he’s got a good vocal style for jump blues. He’s backed by
three other accomplished musicians, Dave Philpots on double bass, Paulie
Bignell on guitar, and drummer Eddie Fury – all of whom also supply
backing vocals as and when required.
11 of the 13 tracks are written by the band. The other two are
cover versions – “Sugar Coated Love” that I mentioned above and one
that I thought was an odd inclusion.
If you’ve never heard “You Sexy Thing” (a hit for Hot Chocolate in 1975)
done as a blues number, then you’re in for a treat.
When I was looking through the track listing on the CD cover, I noticed
“You Sexy Thing” and it didn’t occur to me that it could be the Hot
Chocolate hit until I noticed the credit to Errol Brown, who wrote it.
My immediate reaction was, “Oh, no” - but in a strange way it works, with
a blues beat going on behind the vocals. It’s far from being the best
track on the album, but it’s a brave attempt at trying something
different, and all credit to the band for that.
The opening track to the album “Second In Charge” was a good choice as a
starter – it gives the listener a good taste of what this band is about
and acts as a good showcase for that Moloney can do on the harmonica.
Throughout the CD the tempo varies nicely, and the band walks a fine line
between jump blues and rockabilly, just coming down on the jump blues
side – it’s a good mix and it works, it had my feet tapping the whole
way through the thirteen tracks.
Listening to this album has made me determined to get my hands on some
of their earlier stuff to see if it’s as good.
Give this CD a listen, you’ll be very pleasantly surprised.
--- Terry Clear
Elvin Bishop’s entertaining nature is bursting with enthusiasm on this
live disc. As a member of the original Paul Butterfield Blues Band,
Bishop’s contributions to the blues movement are undeniable. Since
parting with Butterfield in 1968, Bishop has created notable solo
records. On Booty Bumpin’ (Blind Pig Records), he is expertly assisted by the delightful
members of his sizeable band. Many of them appeared on his previous CD,
Gettin’ My Groove Back. Their big sound camouflages Bishop’s
non-crooning lead vocals. Bobby Cochran (drums), Ed Earley (trombone,
rubboard), and Steve Willis (piano, accordion) also assist with lead
vocals. None of them are astonishing, but the music is so damn enjoyable
it doesn’t matter. For example, "Keep A Dollar In Your Pocke" is basic
blues but it sounds more complicated due to the gratifying band.
Throughout 63-minutes, pleasant musical solos are provided by Willis and
Mike Schermer (guitar).
Lots of fun is exercised on this blues-based roots rock album, which was
recorded live at Constable Jack’s in Newcastle, California on December
3, 2006. The 12-song repertoire – seven are Bishop originals – focuses
on Bishop’s Alligator and Blind Pig years, but the early ’70s as well as
previously unrecorded songs are represented. With guitar chords that
purposely sound bent, twisted, and confused, "What The Hell Is Going On"
is a musical celebration of our paranoid society. The only thing with
stability is the song’s rhythm. All the way around, it’s a brilliant
"On I Feel Alright Again," the guitarists slide and glide along
their frets like finely lubricated pistons. Here, piano and trombone are
also showcased. "Half Way Out The Door" features the disc’s best vocalist
– Willis – as well as Schermer’s West Coast sounding guitar. Most lyrics
aren’t deep because they aren’t supposed to be deep. The benefits of
living a dog’s life are revealed in "My Dog," where the four-legged
protagonist doesn’t chase cats or women. During the hillbilly rock stomp
"I’ll Be Glad," the nearly 65-year-old Bishop professes to be (“Tired of
living in this big old world of hurt”). So he remedies the situation
with joyous rocking music.
Several high-energy instrumentals exist which showcase wobbling horns,
precise piano, bone rattling guitar, and Bishop’s signature melodic
slide guitar. Plenty of instruments, e.g., accordion and tambourine, get
their groove on during "Stomp." Its rocking and rhythmic melody instills
dancing and boogieing. "Booty Bumpin’" is quick paced, pumping, and
pushing. The mellow "Blue Flame" is packed with lots of sophisticated blue
notes from guest guitarist Daniel Castro.
Bishop’s vocals are insubstantial when compared to his pleasurable
songwriting, punchy guitar playing, and boisterous showmanship. Needless
to say, his live show is as significant as ever. Overall, Booty Bumpin’
delivers high entertainment value from blues’ notorious class clown.
--- Tim Holek