Thursday, April 12, 2012

CD Review: “The Skinny” by Ian Siegal and The Youngest Sons


The Skinny

The Rolling Stones did it. The Yardbirds did it. John Mayall and The Blues Breakers did it. They all got hooked on America’s homegrown down home blues. Bands like Fleetwood Mac and The Stones even came over here to record with their heroes and The Animals backed Sonny Boy Williamson when he toured Britain.

Now British blues buster Ian Siegal has likewise crossed the pond, collaborating with an all-star cast of North Mississippi Hill Country musicians to produce the genre-expanding The Skinny that erupts with molten grooves and scarifying, hoodoo vocals.

In 2010 Siegal brought his brawny voice and his guitar to the North Mississippi studio of the late Jim Dickinson and recorded with drummer/percussionist/bassist/producer Cody Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars and son of Jim), guitarist/bassist Garry Burnside (son of the late R.L.), guitarist Robert Kimbrough (son of the late Junior) and drummer Rodd Bland (son of Bobby “Blue”), all of whom happened to be the youngest sons of their legendary fathers. Alvin Youngblood Hart (guitar, vocals),
Andre Turner (fife, vocals), Duwayne Burnside (drums and grandson of R.L.) and Quintez (drums) round out the cast of musical renegades.

The result is some dark magic, some Mississippi funk, some tough, menacing blues. It sounds like strange sins and feels oh so good.

“The Skinny” Ian Siegal and the Youngest Sons

Siegal is drinkin’ Muddy Waters and sniffin ‘ Howlin Wolf and he has an unquenchable addiction to the blues. Through the late ‘90s he developed a reputation in Europe, after cutting his teeth as a busker. In 2004-5 he opened for Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings and released his debut, Meat & Potatoes. Swagger (2007), The Dust (2008) and Broadside (2009) followed to rapturous reviews, and he received numerous awards and accolades.

Most of the 11 tracks on this album are penned by Siegal, and the arrangements were done right before the studio session,… “no one involved had heard any material before we met on day one at the studio…once we started playing, developing grooves and ideas, it really got cooking. To have the legacy and history that comes with members of the Dickinson, Burnside, Kimbrough and Bland families was such an honor.”says Siegal. The instinctive musical prowess of these guys can pull it off. It lends a live quality and a spontaneous feel to the album. Siegals nasty, slide guitar work is infectious, and the band grinds a rhythm like a hell bound train.

“Stud Spider” written by Tony Joe White, is a  mash up of rap and blues. Siegal turns up the  wah wah guitar, and sings a lyric with an appropriately creepy metaphor for male/female relations and featuring Kimbrough’s serpentine solo and Dickinson on bass and electrified washboard called a “woogie board.

Siegal’s, on baritone guitar,lays down a hook laden riff for “Master Plan”. Another non-Siegal tune is “Picnic Jam,” written and sung by Garry Burnside. Pure, southern funk and tasty as pan fried chicken. The album ends with a Dylan-esque  tune called “Hopper (Blues for Dennis)”.

The whole album just drips tough, powerful blues and these guys together cook. This is the real deal. You can not fake the blues and Siegal proves he’s got The Skinny.


The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

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