Ok, so its not strictly blues. But it is "bluesy", whatever the hell that really means. In this case it means its a great piece of work. Suggestive of hot sun, tired field hands, and hard times, John "JB" Bigham takes you back, probably to a place you know about but haven't ever really been.
Bigham has a widely varied background, working with household names including jazz great Miles Davis and heavy metal/funk/ska Fishbone, Dr. Dre and Bruce Hornsby.
Bigham wrote every cut on this CD, performed all lead vocals, guitar and drum work. His driving bass work is the heart and soul of this collection. It weaves a consistency that grabs you in the gut and lets you know this is low down, keepin' it real stuff. Clean, simple and you don't miss the point.
The Hole channels turn of the century chain gangs. You can almost hear the sledge hammers and the breaking rocks. The driving bass ties together the sparse guitar work and soulful vocals.
Moon Blues brings you in to a smokey back alley dive with cheap liquor and Saturday night specials. Watch your backside.
I Got Work is just good old soul. Some nice slide work on this one.
One Hit stood out from the rest. Very reminiscent of One Toke Over The Line, an old Brewer and Shipley song from the 70s. Probably the only cut where the acoustic guitar took over center stage from the bass. Leads in this also reminded me of Amy from Pure Prairie League.
There are several more cuts on this CD, but they don't stand out as much different from the rest of the album. That is not to say they are uninteresting or don't add to the package. On the contrary, I think Bigham has done his job of bringing old time music forward to today, rather than bringing us back to it. I enjoyed this album immensely and look forward to more from him. Given his background, I expect it will be very different from this. We'll see.
JohnnyG's rating: 4.5 out of 6 strings - a good buy.
Available on Yellow Dog Records: http://yellowdogrecords.com/sojb/index.html