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by Fursey O’Veebee

This CD jumps right out at you from the opening cut as Blues Guitar master Jeremiah Johnson lays some heavy riffs on you in “Straightjacket”, accompanied by some nice horns and lyrics proclaiming to his woman she doesn’t have to strangle him with possessiveness. JJ has a nice blend of Blues, Country, and Southern Rock in his armamentarium and he mixes it up on this CD. Jeremiah himself proclaims “I want people to let this record play from the first to the last note, crank it up at a party or riding through the night on a Harley-Davidson. I want it to make people feel like going on a trip of emotion”. This is evident as this CD plays like a well-written story from beginning to end. He rocks on in “Getting tired”, saying he is getting tired of getting old, but getting old getting tired. After a hard week of work, we all know that feeling. Slowing it up on “Blood of the Blues”, he does a mellow rocking groove. Considering that this record was produced by the legendary Mike Zito, it is no surprise that it rocks hard from start to finish. He gets a little patriotic in “Believe in America”, which is a song that no matter what side of the Eagle you are on (left-wing or right-wing), you can stand up and be proud of your country regardless of its faults. “Dirty Mind” is a jam about his woman, and starts out slow but gets faster with some nice guitar and horn work. Many great cuts on this CD, I would highly recommend it.

This CD was originally released 20 years ago, and honestly it blows away 99% of the stuff I hear. Thankfully I had never heard this CD before so it was all new to me. Remastered for its 20 year anniversary, this CD is pure fire. Mike Zito rips the neck off of the guitar with incredible prowess, from the opening track “Hollywood” to the final cover of “Rocket Man” which I find better than the original. Some of the cuts on here are, how should we say, a bit risqué, such as “Lovering”, but if that is ok with you then this CD will be your top purchase in a long time. In “It’s All Good” he throws down some more blistering guitar licks and gets funky with it at the same time. Guitar solo after guitar solo on this CD just keep on pushing the limits of modern guitar mastery, which again make it hard to believe it is 20 years old. This axe-man makes you feel like he is effortlessly throwing down licks in some back room in a smoky juke joint with a bunch of cool cats sitting around smoking cigs and drinking whisky. “Gravy Jam” is another one of many that just keeps on ripping. This would be a great CD to play when you are going just slightly above the speed limit down A1A to Sebastien for a Dawn Patrol sesh. I guarantee you it would be hard to keep your foot off of the gas. So speed on up to the record store and grab this barn burner. You will be glad you did.

Now we move on to the other side of the coin. Whereas some LPs jump out and smack you in the face from the opening cut, this one I had to listen to a few times to wrap my head around. Appleton and Ricci have been playing for a while both separate and together, and they both have established for themselves quite a resume in the genre. This CD leans very hard to the country blues edge, as Ricci’s harmonica backs up Appleton’s guitar and vocals. Mostly slow and twangy, after a few times this baby starts to grow on you. The cover artwork, as you can see, is also very interesting. Many times I will pick a CD based entirely on cover art, and usually I am not disappointed. They start tapping into some zydeco style in the instrumental “Geaux Nuts Kids”, which really gets my blood pumping and has me ready to go back to Big Mamou. Break out the Jambalaya next because the opener for “Don’t Badger the Witness” will have you putting on your best Cajun accent and hungry for a bowl of stew. Excellent finger-plucking in this song keeps a slow tempo to go along with the gravelly vocals. Some more great harp playing from Ricci in “Safety Zone”, as Appleton says that all of his friends have forsaken him, and caused him to weep and moan. So skateboard down to the CD shop and get this finger-popper so all of your friends won’t forsake you.

ALCD 4988

Then there is this. Stop reading now and go buy it. Wow. Big props to my new hookup Marc Lipkin at Alligator Records for turning me on to this just released masterpiece. This is Some pure-T Southern Rock Blues, Kinda Skynyrd, Kinda Hank Jr., Kinda Allman Brothers…and I mean bruh if that don’t sound like you then stop reading now. These boys rip some hard guitar jams, good drums, and good vocal, from the start to the finish. Not one bad song on this CD. This is the kind of CD you crank up full volume and play air guitar while you pretend to know the words. “Big Boss Man” starts it off, and no it’s not about the WWF legend, but it does rock in a legendary style. “Shufflin’ Down to Memphis” belts out some nice slower guitar licks for the live crowd. Guitarist and Vocalist Richard Young proudly states “The Kentucky Headhunters are and always will be in love with playing live. It’s our lifeblood.” This is clearly evident on this CD as they give the people what they want. Their fluid congruity is a result of playing and recording music together anywhere from 30 to 50 years depending on the source. They do a nice take on Freddy King’s 1961 classic “Have You Ever Loved a Woman”, that would please even the harshest Blues critic. “Wishing Well” is another ripper. Hell all the songs on this CD are rippers, who am I kidding. “Walking With The Wolf” is another great jam that will get your toes tapping and your head bobbin’. In “Daddy Was a Milkman” he tells the tale of another infamous backdoor man, who just so happened to be his dad. Men, this is another example of why you should buy your dairy products at Publix yourself, and opt out of delivery. A+ on this release. No question about it. So when the old cat at the bar yells “Play Some Skinnerd Man!” put a quarter in the juke, and play this CD start to finish. You will make a new best friend.

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