The Daintees THE BOY’S HEART (2021)

The Daintees
Barbaraville Records

Another Loving, Careful and Intricate Re-Working of a Modern Classic.

Anyone who knows Martin G Stephenson will tell you that he can’t sit still for a minute; so during our various Lockdowns over the last 12 months he had two choices; and instead of going doolally he set about re-recording and re-inventing a variety of his back catalogue albums; be it the Classic Salutation Road or the lesser known Airdrie (aka Pink Tank) and more.
This week it’s another Classic; the every wonderful (and I thought timeless) The Boy’s Heart which is about to celebrate its 30th Birthday.
As with Martin’s other re-workings, when you play this for the first time, take a deep breath, count 1, 2, 3 and forget the original Meisterwerk therefore treating this as a brand new album in its own rite.
When you do that, the Twangtastic Big Sky, New Light will feel like the greatest song you’ve ever heard (again!). Of course all of the words are here; it’s just that the notes are in different positions (paraphrasing E Morecombe esq.). There’s a ‘fuller sound’ here, arguably more of an Indie feel to it; and after hearing Martin perform this scores of time solo over the years; actually sounds quite exciting in a band format.
Of the songs that are still in Martin’s repertoire Neon Sky now sounds as if he had been listening to Joe Meek in the lead up to going into the studio; especially that haunting electric guitar and militaristic drum beat that pushes his vocal into a part of the stratosphere a voice like his deserves.
The title track The Boy’s Heart has a throbbing bassline replicating said heart beat and again; serves to compliment Martin’s rich voice which is a lot more ‘full’ than when the original was recorded donkey’s years ago.
As is the case with all of these re-workings; as a fan it’s been a journey of wonderful surprises hearing songs that I’d totally forgot about; the guitar work on Cab Attack actually makes the song now sound as scary as late night taxi queues used to be, way back when …… and the way Martin spits out the lyrics sounds like he’s having similar flashbacks!
Wow! Him, Her and The Moon is totally swoonsome, with The Lad crooning his socks off in his best Matt Monro manner; and then Ballad of the English Rose somehow transports us to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains via a stopover in Washington New Town, and is rather delightful because of that heady mixture.
In theory I shouldn’t like the way Martin has changed Sunday Halo; but as ever he knows best and this sparkling and rather spiky version has had me singling it out for regular play and; alongside We Can Roll its gone onto a playlist on my phone for when Summer finally arrives.
Taking a deep breath I’m struggling to pick an actual Favourite Song; as 8.30 Mowbray Morning has been a favourite since I first bought the original cassette; and makes my knees go weak when I’ve ever heard Mr. Stephenson sing it live; and dare I say it? This splendid re-work might, just might be the best version yet.
Then again I had totally forgot about Sentimental Journey; and that stupendous rolling acoustic guitar picking that leads us unsuspectingly into a love song so lovely you can’t help but smile and sigh; as it makes more sense now than it probably ever did. Therefore Sentimental Journey is my Favourite Song here and rightly deserves that accolade.
So; as they say “The Devil makes work for idle hands” but also, “The Devil has all the best tunes,” which may or may not go some way to explaining why after all these years Martin G Stephenson can still consistently write brand new songs as thoughtful and intricate as ever and in his spare time re-work his back catalogue into a contemporay sound for the times without ever losing a ha’porth of their original charm and indeed S.O.U.L.

Released January 29th 2021


Times are hard out there, so I’m going to let you in on a secret …….. Martin is also giving away a 4 track EP from his latest albums (inc. this one and Anna Lavigne’s fabulous album on Barbaraville Records) and I heartily recommend it too.

Harry Dean Stanton with The Cheap Dates OCTOBER 1993

Harry Dean Stanton with The Cheap Dates
October 1993
Omnivore Records

The Best Little Bar Band in West Hollywood and Beyond.

More or less, I tend to swerve albums by Actors and/or celebrities for good reason; as, apart from one or two rarities they really shouldn’t ‘give up the day job.’
In Harry Dean Stanton’s defence here, it genuinely appears that he ‘made music’ for the sheer pleasure it gave him; and had no intention of denting the Hit Parade or blagging his way onto Letterman or whatever as an ego trip.
Alongside his long-term friend Jamie James they had been rocking up at Clubs and bars or wherever the mood took them for nigh on 15 years when these songs ended up being recorded. The gig at the Troubadour was booked as the duo, but James suggested calling up some buddies to flesh the sound out; said ‘buddies’ were only Slim Jim Phantom (Stray Cats) on drums Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (The Doobie Brothers), pedal steel, and Tony Sales (Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Todd Rundgren) bass, no wonder the final product sounds like the best Bar Band you never saw!
This album starts in the studio with Country Balladeer rendition of Dylan’s I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight; and it’s evident right from the outset …. that singer is Harry Dean Stanton!
Not that he’s trying to disguise it; even a casual listener would cock an ear and go …. “Is that? It is …. isn’t it? No …. surely …. but it must be!” And he sounds like he’s having a blast!
The Twang carries on right through the punchy version of Promised Land but the Harry and Friends somehow manage to turn William Bell’s epic tearjerker, You Don’t Miss Your Water into a Cowboy ballad with dark gospel undertones; and boy oh boy Harry’s harmonica will send a shiver down your spine.
In my defence I’d not heard Ry Cooder’s own version of Across The Borderline before today; so I had nothing to compare The Cheap Dates version too; but they play to their strengths and while the guitar playing is superb; it is very much a couple of paces behind Harry’s vocals and the assorted voices on windswept harmonies; making it sound like something Willie Nelson or Johnny Cash would deliver.
Even if these four songs had been released as an EP (Record Store Day?) I’d have been a happy chap; but there is the added bonus of some live tracks from that night at The Troubadour; and that’s when these cats really do come into their own.
They come out of the traps like a cat on a hot tin roof; cranking up the excitement right from the get go with a slinky version of You Never Can Tell with Jamie James’s guitar sounding like the strings were made of platinum!
I don’t know if some songs from that night are missing; but the mood immediatly drops by about 70% with Harry crooning the Hell out of Spanish Harlem as if he was in for the roll of Sinatra singing Raul Malo …. listen in and you’ll hear that I’m not wrong.
Jamie James even gets his moment in the spotlight with a stonking rocking and rolling Miss Froggy, with Harry’s harmonica challenging James’ guitar for Top Billing.
With a set-list as eclectic as this one it’s absolutely no surprise that they include Bright Lights, Big City and play it straight down the middle and I’m quite happy with that.
As I said earlier Harry and the Cheap Dates are the Best Bar Band you never saw, and what they do, they do very well with the only surprise really being that their are no surprises …… until …. the last song.
A little known song (?) from the Paris Texas movie, Canción Mixteca finds Harry singing it in Spanish with plenty of whoops and flourishes that give it an extra dimension and; do you know what? It’s my Favourite Song here; because it’s so different, passionate and so damn good.
I’m not sure how many times you will ever play this album; maybe two or three then put it in the rack; until sometime in the future someone will be looking through your CD’s or LP’s (you can’t do ‘that’ with bloody Spotify!) and judging your musical taste …. we all do it; and they will stumble across this and say, “Is this? Really? It is him …. isn’t it? No …. surely …. but it must be!
and the circle of life will go on.

Released February 12th 2021

Rocking Magpie Music Hour Ep:5

Rocking Magpie Music Hour
Episode 5
January 29th 2021

While not quite up to the heady heights we expect for our reviews; we appear to be collecting new listeners every week with these Podcasts; which hopefully reflect what we do in print.
Yet again there’s an exciting mix of music IMHO mixing brand new singles with album tracks and a couple of Classic Oldies thrown in for good measure.

1Jerry Castle#5 PODCASTThrowback Texas Man
2Jed Potts and the Hillman Hunters#5 PODCASTSwashbucklin’
3Amy Speace#5 PODCASTThere Used to be Horses
4John Paul Keith#5 PODCASTLove Love Love
5The Byrdsfor Gram Parsons#5 PODCASTHickory Wind
6Matt Hill#5 PODCASTChasing at my tears
7Matt HillQuiet LonerGateway#5 PODCASTintro
8Matt HillGateway#5 PODCAST?
9Matt HillGateway#5 PODCAST?
10Jack Cade#5 PODCASTSome bruises never fade
11Cathy Grier#5 PODCASTEasy Come Easy Go
12Jerry Leger#5 PODCASTJumped in the Humber
13Prelude#5 PODCASTOn hearing Dylan
14Ian M BaileyDaniel Wylie/LostDoves#5 PODCASTSlow Down River
15Dean Owens#5 PODCASTNew Mexico

Catherine Britt HOME TRUTHS

Catherine Britt
Home Truths
Beverley Hillbilly Records

Heartbreakers, Tearjerkers and Plenty of Good Ole Fashioned Deluxe Country.

The first night I listened to this album I skimmed through the accompanying Press Release and when I saw ‘first release’ obviously presumed that this was a debut album; and was mightily impressed by every aspect; from songs through melody, and of course Catherine’s magnificently expressive voice.
Then two days later I read it more closely ….. DOH!
Without going into too much detail; she released her first record in 1999 aged 14 in her native Newcastle; Australia and was eventually ‘discovered’ by Elton John three years later, which necesitated a move across the world to Nashville at 17 as she was given a contract with RCA when they were in their pomp.
Subsequently she has won more Awards than Manchester United and played the Opry, while releasing a total of 7 previous albums before this little beauty on her own label.
The music! Tell me about the music!
Okay…. okay!
With nothing to compare or contrast with, opening track I Am a Country Song is the type of Old School Classic Country that ‘they’ say isn’t made any more; but ‘they’ don’t look hard enough, do they?
It’s everything; and more you’d expect from a Classy song of that title; a tearjerker, a look back and best of all it’s a good ole Country Love Song; and does music get any better than that?
What follows is more or less in that vein; with even more tearjerkers with Catherine squeezing every ounce of pathos out of Hard To Love, the divine Mother and of course the punchy title track itself; Home Truths which will be when the mobile phones get lit up when she’s in concert; and best of all it all sounds like they are done with raw honesty.
There was a time when I might have sneered at the likes of Country Fan; a duet with Lee Kernaghan and Fav’rit Song; but the older I get and the more I understand …… I bloody love both and if ever I get see Catherine ‘live’ I will be hollerin’ along with the rest of them.
I like to think that after all these years I can put myself into the ‘target demographic’ when I listen to new albums; and today that’s not been easy when you have songs aimed at Young Mothers …… Gonna Be a Mumma , with it’s opening gambit:
“Well I cook and I clean
Put on the washing machine
Make a coffee, drink it cold
Hang the whites; they’re dorks to fold
Put the dog in the yard
Will today be just as hard as yesterday?
Hey! Hey!”

That sure ain’t aimed at me; but I can imagine my daughter in laws (and wife) thinking ‘someone gets me at last!’
More than just about any other genre Classic Country mines emotional gold better than any other; and CatherineBritt sure can build the tension better than most on the duet with Jim Lauderdale; Hard to Love, Original Sin and the world weary wisdom of New Dawn too; which sit side by side and are sure fire Country Heartbreakers in the Loretta and Reba mould and more recently by Ashley Monroe and Miranda Lambert; but Hell; Catherine Birt can match them all tear for tear.
In one way or another everything here will be a ‘crowd pleaser’ in one way or another; but the self-depreciating biographical Me is an absolute highlight and delight too ……. perfect for Country Radio everywhere btw.
One of my Favourite Tracks Make a Diamond reads like it’s a similar story; but it’s actually a whole lot darker and will appeal to many of us who have lived similar paths; albeit not as Country Music Stars.
The other; and most likely my Favourite Song here is the finale; Long Way Round, yet another Country Heartbreaker, but one that somehow caught me unawares one evening and made me repeat it three or four times; which I’m sure will happen in many homes where this album will eventually reside.
A cursory look at Catherine Britt’s biography shows you that for every ‘up’ in her life she’s had her fair share of ‘downs’ too; and she’s a fighter to come out the other side smiling; which all helps make her the Real Deal when writing and singing; which is something of a rarity around these parts.

Release Date
19th February 2021



Jack Cade
Collision Music

World Weary, Thought Provoking British Americana.

When you first hear Jack Cade’s world weary baritone voice wheezing the opening lines to It Ain’t Easy;
It ain’t easy, It ain’t easy
To peel away the fake from fact
To see the reasons for the act
It ain’t easy, It ain’t easy

You know you aren’t in for a comfortable 45 minutes; but what you hear is more than likely going to get you sighing; “Ain’t that the truth BROTHER!”
Written and recorded; like everything else these days; during Lockdown, Jack wrote these songs while trying to decipher all that was going going on around us primarily in the UK; but across the Atlantic too.
For the uninitiated, the title DEATH THROES OF A JADED EMPIRE is Jack’s rather clever observation on the state of our beloved country; and comes across very acutely in Saviours & Sinners, What Do The People Say and especially the intelligent and articulate Some Bruises Never Fade which will stop you in your tracks and have you listening for every razor sharp nuance and note.
While this may sound like Jack is being judgemental; trust me, he’s not … but he is using his incredible talents as a songwriter and storyteller to describe what is going on around us every day; but either we choose to ignore what is before our eyes or we can’t find the words and expressions to display our dismay and anger; but thankfully he is there in the shadows to do it for us.
Because Jack never actually names names or specific events; these songs; and especially Deep Blue Sea and the dangerous sounding Night Terrors are open to interpretation and will transfer across the waters that surround the UK and make Americans and Europeans too; think they could be about their situation.
Comparisons with outher singers with voices like Jack will abound; it’s easy and more than a bit lazy; but …… the bittersweet love song, Setting Fires does sound uncannily like Cash on his American series; and the gentle guitar solo could easily be Lefty or Chet sitting in on the session.
This also applies to the two songs that are squabbling over which is my Favourite Song here, with both also transcending Jack’s British-Americana status as he treads into the Folk Swamp, where many of his lesser peers have failed miserably.
Jack Cade embraces this idiom like a hair shirt and turns it into silk.
The Amber Lights, is a lovely thought provoking look back at those weekend nights many of us spent in neon lit seaside towns during our teens; and while I think Jack is singing about Southend, Whitley Bay or perhaps Helensburgh; but it could just as easily apply to the same type of places in America and Canada too.
Just as you are smiling at the memories that song evokes Jack follows it with a sucker punch to the ribs with The Awakening.
Possibly the most powerful and thought provoking song here; Jack sounds as if he’s actually desperately holding in his anger as he growls the words to a sweeping orchestral backdrop …… which conjures up a potentially brilliant accompanying video.
Jack Cade? You’ve likely never heard of him; but if this exact album had been released in the same guise by Johnny Cash, Tom Waits or even any North American from One Stump, Hicksville it would be lauded to and from the rooftops by the National Press; but it’s not and they won’t; so it’s left to the likes of RMHQ to tell you to get on board the Cade Train ASAP …. you can thank me later.

PS Please let that be his living-room on the CD cover!

Released January 29th 2021



Ian M Bailey
Shots of Sun
Greentea Productions

Here Comes Summer – A Mini-Soundtrack of Hope For The Grey Days of Winter.

Cast your minds back a couple of months and you might remember my review of The Lost Doves’ SET YOUR SIGHTS FOR THE SUN .
I hope you do because it’s well worth listening to; and now Ian M Bailey from said Beat Combo is releasing another EP; this time via a songwriting collaboration with Daniel Wylie; who holds a special place in the RMHQ heart; as my review of his band The Cosmic Rough Rider’s debut album launch gig , was the first review I ever had published.
Even without that back story I’d have picked the CD up had I been trawling the racks of a record shop because the cover artwork is subtly eye-catching; which is as good a way as any to describe the musical delights hidden inside too.
As I liked The Lost Doves and knowing that these songs were created using the magic that is technology during Lockdown #1, I presumed I knew what to expect hear …… oh no …….. I love it when I still go “WOW!” and stare at the car stereo when something strange and delightful comes out of the speakers; which is what happened the first time I heard Take It or Leave It.
Ian plays every instrument on this multi-layered nod to the West Coast and in particular The Byrds, CS&N and/or their constituent parts or even any of their imitators. For one man this is a helluva ‘big sound’ based around a Rickenbacker and punchy acoustic but there’s a brass section in there too! But let’s not forget the rather lovely song itself either.
Bailey drops the mood down for What’s Happening Now? Which has harmonies dripping from every note and syllable like a sunny shower on a Spring morning; and once you find yourself not being mesmerised by the ‘sound’ ….. the song which ekes 60’s Laurel Canyon hippiedom; is actually a sharply observed contemporary missive, with a gentle chorus that will stick in your head.
While I love receiving and hearing music like this; it also makes me sad as we now live in such a disposable world songs like Slow Down River, will never find a home on radio that they fully deserve … even on 6 Radio or the Internet stations.
The all too short EP closes with the thoughtful and 3-Dimensional Everything Will Be Alright, which features the title track as one of its many prophetic lines; and boy can Ian M Bailey construct a melody!
Under normal circumstances these songs would (and will) be featured on my Summertime playlist in the car; but thinking about the shitty year we’ve just come out of and appear to repeating in some ways; Ian M Bailey and Daniel Wylie have created a mini-soundtrack of not just sunshine on a cold grey day; but hope … and sometimes hope is all we need.

Released January 25th 2021

BUY DON’T SPOTIFY (or else!)


When You Found Me
Thirty Tigers/Liberty & Lament

Darkly Fascinating, Intense and Atmospheric Grown-Up Alt-Something

The mighty Lucero passed me by for most of their career; until I reviewed their 2018 album AMONG THE GHOSTS and I now own a further four of the previous 9 albums they have released since forming in Memphis circa 1998; such is the effect that album had on me.
There’s a visceral intensity to opening track Have You Lost Your Way that is almost electrifying. A couple of nights ago I even found myself cranking the car stereo up way too high for a man my age, just so I could feel those guitars shake my bones!
It’s with no embarrassment to say that this song; alongside Back in Ohio, Good As Gone and A City on Fire sounds like they are channelling their inner Steve Earle through a Nirvana overload, which comes out unlike most anything else you will hear anywhere else in 2021.
While a predominantly dark and very serious album at heart; Lucero also manage to throw some light on what is going on around them with the magnificent Country-Blues of Coffin Nails (which tells the true story of Nichols’ grandfather dealing with the death of his own father, a veteran of World War 1) and the simmering title track When You Found Me, with the wonderfully constructed lines:
When you found me I was drowning
Drifting farther out to sea
Clutching to the anchor as it sank beneath the waves
No way you could get to me
But you found a way
You found a way for me
As with most albums, it will be all too easy to sit back and wallow in the music held herein; but as I’m prone to do, take time and care to listen to the words and stories in the songs; do this and you will quite often be mesmerised at the quality of songwriting.
With a title like Pull Me Close, Don’t Let Me Go you would be forgiven for expecting a cheesy Pop Song; Hell No!
This is an epic in the making with a brooding melody and a grizzled voice half talking and half singing; and again; when you hear Ben Nicholls singing:
While we were apart
I kept you near
Always in my heart
Now I am here
Pull me close – Don’t let go
…. You will get a tight feeling in your chest and barely be able to breath.
Even today I’m not 100% sure which genre to fit this album into, as it’s certainly Alt-Something, but whether that ‘something’ is Country (All My Life) or ‘Rock ‘(City on Fire) will always be left up to conjecture; or at least your own special interpretation.
Not for the first; nor I’m sure the last time this year, selecting a Favourite Song hasn’t been easy; as this is an old fashioned Long Player in the way that you will get the best out of it if you give yourself the time to play it in completion and not fanny about picking out songs on Spotify; this is Grown Up’s music.
But two songs have really captured my imagination; The Match sounds like it could have been written with Johnny Cash’s American series in mind; although I doubt even John could have kept up the tempo and tension that the band create; the other I played on my weekly Podcast and got some great feedback; so Outrun The Moon, with its Tom Pettyesque story and Jason Isbell style refrain actually becomes my #1 Track here, and probably was all along.
Play loud, play often and most of all tell your friends and they will love and admire your taste in music.

Released January 29th 2021


Rocking Magpie MUSIC HOUR Podcast Ep:4

Rocking Magpie MUSIC HOUR
Podcast Ep:4

It’s Friday so it must be MUSIC HOUR time!
Episode 4 and it’s as eclectic as ever, with plenty of obligatory brand new songs from albums either just released or on the horizon as well as some absolute pearls I’ve dusted off from my record collection ….. and of course there’s a fabulous Gateway Record from our friend Annie Dressner.

All of the episodes in January are sponsored by our friends at TUFAC …. The Trades Union Alcohol Committee; purveyors of clothing, badges, beer and gin for the Socialist and Anti-Fascist in your life.
Tell them we sent you …..

Friday 22nd January 2021

The Band#4PodcastChange is Gonna Come
Alabama Slim#4PodcastRob me without a gun
Anna Elizabeth Laube#4PodcastTime to move on
Shipcote#4PodcastCarehome Blues
Annie Dressner#4PodcastBook of Love
Annie DressnerGateway#4Podcastintro`
Simon and GarfunkelGateway#4PodcastGateway Song
Neil Getz#4PodcastFactory Second
Lucero#4PodcastOutrun the moon
Markus Rill & Robert Hasleder#4PodcastTwo Girls
Zed Mitchell#4PodcastI Like to Drive – I’M READY TO LIVE
Quiet Loner#4PodcastGhost of Oswald Mosely
Roger McGuinnSea Shanty#4PodcastDrunken Sailor

The Burnt Pines BURNT PINES

The Burnt Pines
The Burnt Pines
Adreala Records

Captivating Lo-Fi Folk From the Heart but Aimed Directly at Your Soul.

Being the Music Snob I am; when the opening paragraph on a Press Release compares the act to both Coldplay and Mumford & Sons normally my shutters would automatically go up and stay locked.
But, thankfully I had already played this album twice when I read that so can honestly go “Pah! What do you know?” to said copywriter.
The Burnt Pines aka Danish-born singer and lyricist, Kris Skovmand, keyboard player Miguel Sá Pessoa and arranger/guitarist Aaron Flanders pretty much have their own distinctive Folky meets Lo-Fi sound that actually nods towards David Gates’ Bread or Simon and Garfunkel if I’m not too mistaken.
The opening track Diamonds features a beautiful guitar interlude before Kris’s delightful and smoky voice eases in on a fascinating story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
In the real world this album will be the perfect accompaniment to almost any living room activity (with your clothes on!) as Skovmand’s voice and the melodies in Mother On The Mountain, Make The Sign and Song For Rose will feel like a warm breeze; but you will then be missing some rather enticing lyrics; which will be a mistake.
Just like my occasional discussions about the quality of guitar playing these days; is it me or is the standard of songwriting leaps and bounds more advanced than in the golden days of Singer-songwriters between ’68 and ’78?
Obviously we’ve never heard of The Burnt Pines before; but just when you think you don’t need to hear another winsome love song ever again along they come with not just Waiting For You but Only In The Soul too!
Forced into using modern technology to send lyrics and the constituent parts around the world during various Covid induced Lockdown; The Burnt Pines have still managed to create some delightfully intimate songs like From Seville to Manhattan and April Child that will live with fans forever.
For my own personal Favourite Song I’m torn between two very diverse songs; which also goes to show the strength of this album.
Track #2 Heavy and Young definitely has a Simon and Garfunkel vibe to it; albeit with a contemporary ‘edge’ to the lyrics; and the other Oh Me, Oh My ups the pace ever so slightly making it sound intensely claustrophobic and will draw you in towards the speakers so as not to miss a single beat or word.
I can see where someone who likes Coldplay and the Mumfords would like The Burnt Pines; but that’s certainly not to say they are influenced by ‘that type of music’; this is Folk Music from the heart and aimed directly at your Soul.

Released January 22nd 2021


Alabama Slim THE PARLOR

Alabama Slim
The Parlor
Cornelius Chapel Records

A Refreshing Set of Modern Blues Originals Plus a Couple of Re-Worked Classics.

Here’s a question.
Just how many, genuine “Bluesmen” have gone through their whole musical lifetime without ever releasing a solo album?
Who knows? Not me; that’s for sure.
Thank goodness the Music Maker Relief Foundation teamed up with Cornelius Chapel Records to finally give octogenarian Alabama Slim aka Milton Frazier his opportunity.
The actual session took place 18 months ago in a New Orleans studio, called The Parlour. Slim, with his cousin and long-term best pal, guitarist Little Freddie King plus drummer Ardie Dean taking just 4 hours to lay down these 10 tracks.
Dean oversaw the production with the DBT’s Matt Patton plus Jimbo Mathus taking care of post-production, retrospectively adding bass and keys where required.

Born Milton Frazier in Vance, Alabama in March 1939, Slim fell in love with traditional Blues at an early age from his father’s collection of 78’s.
Moving to New Orleans in 1965, then onto Dallas after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, he has now returned to the Crescent City. In fact, had it not been for this damned international pandemic he would have appeared (for the first time ever) at his adopted hometown’s Jazz and Heritage Festival last year.
Known as a lifelong dapper dresser, his attire always drew attention, the fact that he’s almost 7 foot tall also kinda helped him stand out in any crowd.

You should consider John Lee Hooker’s classic vocal sound as the template for Alabama Slim’s music, but it’s much, much more than a tribute to the 5 times Grammy winner.
Slim and Little Freddie’s dovetailing guitars interweave with Dean’s solid, driving beat.
Hot Foot” welcomes you to the album with a very positive call of ‘All-right’ and an up-beat twin guitar boogie which then leads into “Freddie’s VooDoo Boogie” where Little Freddie is the featured lead vocalist. “Rob Me Without a Gun” slows things down and has Jimbo Mathus’ restrained Hammond providing a much fuller and warmer sound.

Rock with Me Momma” has Slim pleading with his woman in the time honoured fashion and inviting her to a night of passion, which is then followed (optimistically) by “All Night Long!”
A moodier, less frenetic offering, where our main man is searching the streets with the roosters crowing, having the added benefit of some ivory twinkling from Jimbo.
Not the ‘other’ “Midnight Rider” but Slim’s own song of the same name again touches on more night time activities followed by a rousing version of the Blues classic “Rock Me Baby” continuing a similar, familiar theme of most of the earlier tracks.

The closing track is “Down in the Bottom” with stripped back vocals and those familiar twin guitars delivering a sultry and swampy sound, and the familiar JLH facsimile of “Someday Baby” certainly had my foot stomping too.
However, for me the standout track is the self-penned, politically charged number, entitled “Forty Jive” which could have been written by Tony Joe White, again reflecting the alligators and bayous of Louisiana.

In summary, Alabama Slim’s story is a vivid lesson of perseverance, resolutely sticking with the moaning and groaning of the Delta Blues that he heard in the 1940’s on his grand-parents farm, in the ‘Yellowhammer State’. The album is a delightful collection, consisting mostly of refreshing, modern originals that avoid being cliched, with just a couple of re-worked old blues classics that all fit superbly on the plate served up in The Parlor.

Jack Kidd “Messin’ with the Kidd” on

Released 22nd January 2021,Bill%20Broonzy%20and%20Lightnin’%20Hopkins.