WATERMELON SLIM AND SUPER CHIKAN
NORTHERN BLUES (NBM0061)
Trucking Blues, I Don't Wear No Sunglasses, The Trip, I'm A Little Fish, Northwest Regional Medical Center Blues, Diddley-Bo Jam, Thou Art With Me, You Might Know, Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning, Within You Without You/Dinde, Moonshine.
Watermelon Slim has been winning award after award with his terrific Northern Blues releases ever since the early 2000s. His no-nonsense, straight-ahead approach to his music has gained him faithful fans and earned the respect of fellow musicians and given him the opportunity to share the stage with the best and receive accolades from critics the world over.
The previous CDs featured Slim with his super-tight backing band The Workers but for ‘Okiesippie Blues', made with (the late) legendary producer Willie Mitchell and his son Boo at the famous Royal Recording Studios, he shares the honours with Mississippi blues man Super Chikan.
The CD opens with Slim's harmonica howling out the start of Trucking Blues which is driven along by Chikan's primal guitar lines but things heat up when Slim plugs in his slide guitar and gets to work on the scorching licks that scream around the tough blues I Don't Wear No Sunglasses and the groove continues as the duo whoop into the rural frolic I'm A Little Fish. There's more intense playing on the slow talking blues about the Regional Medical Center where Slim relates a story about a real bad time in his life while Chikan sympathises with low gospel tinged moans. It's a gruesome tale so thank God for the next track, the high energy instrumental Diddley-Bo Jam where both musicians simply let loose alternating on electric guitar and ‘diddly-bo' which produce some unbelievable sounds!
Slim's harmonica gets some action on Super Chikan's tough blues Moonshine and the steady rolling country number You Might Know, and both men supply the handclaps and unaccompanied vocals on the Fred McDowell spiritual Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning. The most fascinating track is the beautiful instrumental version of George Harrison's Within You Without You which segues into Slim's own Dinde which is played on a kalimba that brings an exotic liquid feel to the set.
This is another tremendous Watermelon Slim album - no doubt destined for yet more awards or two. Fabulous.
Review Date: August 2011