Blues Bytes and Satellite times/ spain|
by Terry Clear
This is the debut album for a very talented musician – so talented, in fact, that he has attracted a host of guest musicians to his project. How about Dave Honeyboy Edwards, Big Jack Johnson, John Primer, & Bob Stroger, to name but a few?
The album was recorded during a six month tour of studios in Clarksdale, Atlanta and Chicago, and it includes one track – “Wind Howling Blues” – that has, apparently, not been recorded since 1942.
The album is dedicated to the musicians that Woods respects and musicians who have influenced him, and so all twelve tracks on the albums are covers – this is no criticism of what is a fine CD. In fact, it’s much more than just fine, it is an excellent album.
The CD opens with an old traditional blues (one I hadn’t heard before) called “Deep Ellum Blues” performed by a trio of Tim Woods on vocals and acoustic guitar, with Eric Noden on second acoustic guitar and Kenny Smith on drums – I knew I was going to like this CD within 30 seconds of this track starting. A Willy Dixon track follows, “Do The Do” – electric guitar this time, with John Primer providing second guitar and Aaron Moore on piano. Bob Stroger and Kenny Smith are on bass and drums respectively. This is one of the best versions of this particular track that I’ve heard.
“Castle Rock Boogie” keeps the tempo going, with a bit of fun thrown in from Aaron Moore on piano again, and there’s another boogie a little later, the “Clarksdale Boogie” which is even better! It has Alan Bates on keyboards, Big Jack Johnson on guitar (he wrote it), and the rhythm section of Terry Big T Williams on bass and Lee Williams on drums.
In between there’s a fantastic version of Willy Dixon’s “Spoonful” (a trio of two guitars and drums) and a Honeyboy Edwards track “Bad Whiskey & Cocaine”.
Honeyboy takes the vocals on his own song “Wind Howling Blues”, and he makes it very special indeed, with Tim Woods, Eric Noden and Kenny Smith backing him up. Honeyboy takes vocals later on another of his songs, “Drop Down Mama” with Woods & Noden on guitar and harmonica – lovely stuff!
There’s also excellent versions of Willy Dixon’s “Built For Comfort” and “It Don’t Make Sense You Can’t Make Peace”, Howling Wolf’s “Who’s Been Talking”, before the album winds up with a very up tempo jazzy blues “World Comes Tumbling Down”.
This is definitely one of the best CDs that I’ve reviewed this year so far!