Ms. Fish is not new to these pages, I've reviewed her before, (here) and (here), but thank God she retained Mike Zito as producer 'cause that bastard knows heavy from the git-go, well mixed with grit and gumbo, and has more than shown it in The Royal Southern Brotherhood (here) and his last solo monster (here). He doubles up axes with Samantha, as well as backgrounds her vocals, and the two go together like hot grease and spicy catfish. Both dig in their heels and get to work right from the very first cut, the speedy boogie Miles to Go, a great choice to capture eager ears.
Fish also invited vocalist Paul Thorn, fiddler Bo Thomas, and harpist Jumpin' Johnny Sansone along for a few cuts. The lattermost wails in Sucker Born, right alongside some wild psychedelic blues guitar wrangling, a dark thick number that also employs a cowcatcher slide rearing its head a number of times throughout the CD. The storyline is ingeniously wrought as well, a sassy lament from a world-weary bullshit-wary femme who knows where her and others' graves might well be dug and stays well away. She and Sansone team up again on Howlin' Wolf's Who's Been Talkin', boogie-shufflin' the swing 'n doing it up right.
Sam writes almost everything here and once again displays that it ain't jes' the terbacky-chawin', gun-slingin', bad-boy desperadoes who know their shit; the wimmens weren't exactly quilting and churning butter while the guys were out playin' around:
'Cause me 'n Johnny been sitting at the bar
Might not be what yer thinkin', though, and when she further threatens to "Lay him out under the pale moonlight", well…you know what metaphor is, right? An' you know what rock and roll really means, yes? Boogie woogie? And honey-dippin'? So, when she then says Let's Have Some Fun, t'ain't gunplay she's talkin' 'bout…less'n, of course, you know what that 'gun' really is. The When the Levee Breaks crawl of Heartbreaker just might help you out here, as well. Eric ain't the only one who likes a slow hand, and it won't be just the Black Wind Howlin' if you treat the ladies right. That's what Samantha Fish is tellin' y'all, and you could do a whole lot worse than listen. On several levels.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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