Man, whenever I listen to music like this, I feel like I just gotta have me a pair of stone-dark cheaters, a fringy straw hat, a goatee, and a mean bucket o' shrimp étouffée with dirty rice! Can't be in L.A., neither, I gots to shuffle off to N'Awleans, to some balmy bayou dive with a gaggle of working class stiffs of variegated cultures letting their hair down. I'll expect to see Wolfman Jack in that crowd, and it wouldn't surprise me much if Doc Demento turned up as well, shaking his booty and testifying.
Mitch Woods is a purist, singing and tinkling the keys in an elder tradition, and he's here tributizing vocalist Smiley Lewis, a unique cat of the shouting jump blues ilk who inspired Elvis, Fats, Dave Edmunds and others to ape his takes on standards, a gutbucketful of down-South tunes like the perennial Blue Monday and I Hear You Knockin' familiar to anyone with even the faintest acquaintance in the genre. My fave is Big Mamou, a Cajun folk song registered in Gumbo with wry humor and verve, but Bumpity Bump follows in exactly identical vein. The sextet backing Woods is as speakeasy fingerpoppin' cool and charged as their leader, swingin' into the bars and measures as audaciously as though a fifth of moon just waiting to be consumed.
I know the new generations can dig this swampy essence as much as those of us dinosauring our way through the byways of modern times because I've seen 'em show up in droves whenever Bernie Pearl wails in numerous SoCal dives. Mitch Woods' wont is just next door to Pearl's Mance Lipscombe affinities and just as fidelitous to the framework and soul of founding ways, so don't for a moment imagine only greybeards will be hipswaying to this righteous fest. Yonder musical muskeg boasts a swarm of skeeters happily infecting all and sundry with the Lawsiana Sonic Virus (and that's the CDC's way-scientific term, by the way, take my word on it), sparing none who come within range, provoking an epidemic of sauce swozzling, grin-ifying, rebop stompin', git down shake it hedonism. And if this gives ya the twitch a tetch, Woods has nine other releases (including a boogie piano instructional) to advance the cause, much virtue in excess.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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