Long live Fat Possum Records! For years now, they’ve been bringing us the best in slightly off-kilter but definitely brilliant blues music. Their artists are always well-selected, generally cranky and definitely talented musicians. I’m a fan, big-time.
This record is third in a series of this label roster compilations, and it’s a helluva lot of fun. The cover cracks me up no end, depicting some row housing, with a dumpster in front of it that has “I Love You Bitch” spray painted on the side. Perfect.
Charles Caldwell hits it perfectly right off the top, and then yet again we hear that the rock of the Black Keys is intact. Nathaniel Mayer tears the roof off the mothersucker with a brilliant cover of I Found Out. Follow that up with Iggy and the Stooges covering Junior Kimbrough? Get outta here! Awesome! And this is only the beginning…
The stomp of Little Freddie King kills, the untouchable R.L. Burnside teaches us a lesson or three about blurring boundaries, Thee Shams rock our brains (play this one really, really loud, it’s great!), and Kenny Brown takes us onto the back porch for a display of acoustic prowess and backwoods ramble. Yummy! Hot on the heels is the always hilarious Boob Scotch from irreplaceable one-man band Bob Log III, and then comes Grandpa Boy (also known to lesser mortals as Paul Westerberg) sounding like (so help me) the Rollings Stones, and T-Model Ford, who is a definite favourite of mine, doing what he does best in that way that only he can do it.
Robert Belfour (whose record Pushin’ My Luck is pure genius), plays us the brilliant title track from said same record, Joe Callicott sounds like he’s playing an achingly beautiful eighty years ago, R.L. Burnside returns with an acoustic track from his First Recordings record that sounds like he just walked in from the crossroads with mud on his boots, and ‘Mississippi’ Fred McDowell (can’t get enough of this guy!) shouts out a blues so bright it’s almost possible to forget the swamp from which it crawled. Damn.
Bringing up the rear (as if all of this wasn’t enough), we’re treated to three straight old school blues classics. Furry Lewis discusses his legal troubles, out-of-tune guitar and all, Jimmy Lee Williams shows us the backbone of the blues all while sounding like he’ll fall apart at any minute (but don’t think for a minute it’ll actually happen) and, last but not least by any means, Robert Pete Williams picks and slides his way through a touching goodbye to Slim Harpo.
Thank you, Fat Possum, for so much great music and for keeping this particular brand of the blues alive and very well indeed.
Hot damn. This is a great album. Go get it for yourself. Right now.
01 Charles Caldwell – Hadn’t I Been Good To You
02 Black Keys – Set You Free
03 Nathaniel Mayer – I Found Out
04 Iggy and the Stooges – You Better Run
05 Little Freddie King – Crack Head Joe
06 R.L. Burnside – Goin’ Down South
07 Thee Shams – You Want It
08 Kenny Brown – Cocaine Bill
09 Bob Log III – Boob Scotch
10 Grandpa Boy – Vampire And Failures
11 T-Model Ford – Bad Man
12 Robert Belfour – Pushin’ My Luck
13 Joe Callicott – Frankie And Albert
14 R.L. Burnside – Just Like A Bird Without A Feather
15 Fred McDowell – Mama Says I’m Crazy
16 Furry Lewis – Good Morning Judge
17 Jimmy Lee Williams – Hoot Your Belly
18 Robert Pete Williams – Goodbye Slim Harpo