Supercool and Red Hot Delta Blues.
James Johnson aka Super Chikan was born into a Mississippi Blues family in 1951 and has been singing and playing the guitar for as long as anyone can remember.
In recent years he has based himself back home in Clarksdale; primarily at Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Club; yet, as is the way of the world this album was recorded in Tel Aviv, Israel where his something of a superstar!
Right from the off, Chikan’s sizzling guitar licks and wailing harmonica had me by the throat; so when his authentically road-worn voice crashes in I was already a fan. This opening track; Rooster Juice could have been recorded at any time since the electric guitar was invented and like most of the rest of Organic Chikan is timeless and classic, Delta Blues; owing as much to Chuck Berry as it does to Muddy Waters.
Like many before him; and one of the reasons the Delta Blues is my favourite Chikan has his tongue placed firmly in his cheek on several risqué songs; Take Me In Your Kitchen with its frightening and fuzzy guitar is a great example; but don’t for minute think this is a comedy album; it will make you smile, but in the way only great songwriting and even better delivery can produce.
It’s a similar feeling with the Blood, Fight and Wooze, when Chikan describes his time in the Army to a chunka-chunka beat, but could also be about any Saturday night in the Juke Joints of Memphis, Hamburg or Sunderland.
Arguably my favourite song here, is the delightfully sleazy Twerk It when Chikan brings things right up to date; and when he chuckles every couple of verses you just know that there is still lots of life in the old dog yet.
Another favourite is African Style; which combines a traditional African beat with some very saucy double-entendres and a punchy drum beat and sort of hip-hop vocal style. You will have to hear it to know what I mean.
The Israeli connection is given its own song in Tel Aviv where our man tells the tale of turning up in that country for the very first time; going on to Raise Hell in the Holy Land. Somewhere in the mix is really funky B3 Organ that just about loses a fight with Chikan’s sizzling guitar.
This is the Blues at its rawest and in my opinion, its very best. It certainly won’t appeal to Coldplay or Radiohead fans; but if you like Muddy, John Lee or even Joe Bonamassa I think you will like this just as much as I do.
Released October 2015