You may not recognize the name, but Downchild is big big BIG in Canada, and any FAME reader worth his or her salt knows what a cavalcade of truly fine music has made its way across that border to grace 50 states more than happy to receive it. Ah, but then there's the inclusion here of Dan Aykroyd with the inimitable Colin Linden on one cut, Wayne Jackson and Colin James on another, and then Wayne again on a third; thus, you have an idea of the magnitude of esteem placed on these baddest blues cats for four decades!
Writer-guitarist-harp player Don Walsh formed the Downchild Blues Band and knows his strut and sass from jump, prompted here by the gritty singing of Chuck Jackson, a swinging denizen of the alleys and byways setting the stage for a mean set of strums and pickings from his six-string pard. When the first set of guitar solos pops up on Somebody Lied, after a great couple of songs sporting excellent chord choices, you know Walsh never stopped paying his dues, bending that brain to ever deeper soulful fretboard sonics. The rest of the band keeps things shakin' with mucho embellishment, like Michael Fonfara's honky-tonk tinklin' piano comin' in from the top, Pat Carey's saxes honkin' from the sides, and everything filling the milieu with grooves, sweat, and smoke.
Aykroyd kicks in a harmonica solo, but I sure as hell woulda loved to hear him on a Blues Bros. vocal kick beside Jackson. No matter, as a plenitude of Walsh's slide all over the disc tends to rapidly push aside any brief laments in that direction. Then Don slides in his own vocals on Some More of That, and we find the guy has a surprisingly B.B. King-ish tone. The entire affair ends in an instrumental, El Stew, that's langurous, bayou-flavored, and keening, giving Walsh a great opportunity to just lay it down. No matter where you go in I Need a Hat, every moment is golden.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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