Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Review: Rockin’ Johnny Band - Grim Reaper

Rockin’ Johnny Band - Grim Reaper (Delmark)
Apparently AWOL for the last ten years, Rockin’ Johnny returns in style here with a timeless collection of highly original but defiantly old-school blues that showcase both his own individuality and the blue-chip quality of his band. From the excellent title track ‘Grim Reaper’, a dense and darkly brooding opener with an aptly haunting quality (and whose foreboding threat of ‘Rockin’ Johnny going to hell’ is played along by church bell aping chimes on the guitar and a menacing ‘played-backwards’ solo that could see them end up in court), via the gently smouldering ‘Window to Your Soul’, to the gutsy Little Walter cover ‘Everybody Needs Somebody’, the playing is consistently relaxed, confident and compelling.

Although it’s characteristically peppered with top class guitar playing and understated singing from the main man throughout, a deserved special mention should go out to harpist Davin ‘Big D’ Erikson for his significant efforts on ‘Lousy Dimes’ and his self-penned ‘Brand New Boots’.
Neil B.

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