Retro Deluxe for their second disc decided to go down to Delta Recording Service, down in the Delta of Mississippi, Cosmo, MS, to be exact, and enlist Jimbo Mathus' help with the effort. Mathus as well as producing this 16-song disc also played drums, percussion, electric and acoustic guitars (2 cuts, 11 & 13), harp (6), and backing vocals (2). The 16 cuts are all written by band manager Robert J. Thompson, who is also the alter ego of Bobby Joe Owens, except Hoochie Coochie Back Door Man, which he co-wrote with Zach Sweeney. Zach Sweeney, since he was on the center of the conversation handles the lead guitar work, both electric and acoustic, and he gets the nod on the musical arrangements. From the notes this is a completely new band that Bobby Joe put together for this effort, however they don't sound like they haven't played together.
Watermelon Tea is a mixed bag of blues styles though mostly sticking to the Delta Blues as brought to Chicago by the likes of Muddy Waters, et al. There is some swing from more Western regions, California and Texas, even a nod or two to rock-a-billy, as well as homage to Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze, with Blues Infusion. A quick look at the song titles and you will see that many of them are close to titles of more well known songs by better known artists, kind of odd choices but that is what is. Leads to a number of interesting questions, however don't let that put you off there is some very valid music here that deserves a good listen.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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