Mighty Mojo Prophets review April 19, 2013…





In the grand tradition of California players such as T-Bone Walker, Hollywood Fats, and Johnny Guitar Watson, the serious West Coast strut of the Long Beach-based Mighty Mojo Prophets is well-represented with their debut for Delta Groove, “Flyin’ Home From Memphis.”  It’s thirteen original shots of stone blues penned by  two founding members, vocalist Tom “Big Son” Eliff, and guitarist Mitch “Da Switch” Dow.

We couldn’t say enough good things about their Rip Cat Records debut in 2011, and they parlayed that success into a Best New Artist nomination for the 2012 Blues Music Awards.  They even scored that coveted spot of opening act at the pre-Awards party at the Memphis Cook Convention Center, to let all the attendees see what the buzz was all about.


On this set, the fellows bring that  tight, jump-blues sound on the majority of the cuts, and even do a bit of “experimenting” on a few tracks.  The party jumps right out at ya with the swagger of “Sweetness,” a good-lovin’ woman that you better watch out for, because “she’ll play your heart just like a game!”  Mitch’s guitar is perfectly in time with “Li’l A” Woodson’s harp.  Another good gal is enough to make Big Son “walk a canyon on a high wire,” and it’s called “Lucky Man.”  A punchy horn section adds the spice to the minor-key “I Can’t Believe,” and the chicken-scratchin’ good-time instrumental, “Jo’s Jive.”


The fellows even pay a sweet tribute to the Bluff City, with the acoustic, slide-driven Diddley-beat of “Strong Medicine,” and the tongue-in-cheek humor of a man who lost a wife AND a lover, “She’s Gone.”  Add to these the set-closing “Whachulookinfor,” and you’ve got three tunes that would fill up any tip jar down on Beale Street!


We had some favorites, too.  Mike Malone’s organ adds to the funk of the “Street Corner Preacher,” who’ll “hustle your change to keep his buzz goin!”  And, “California” is the title cut, where the fellows are “Flyin’ home from Memphis,” and, even tho they’ve had some successes in Tennessee, their hearts will always be out west.  With the horn section blastin’ all over this one, it comes across as a 21ST Century  “Promised Land!”

The Mighty Mojo Prophets are the real deal, the whole package, the Big Ragoos, or any other descriptive term you want to pin on them.  But, above all, they are one of the freshest, most impressive bands to come along in quite some time.  Great, original lyrics, and musicianship that’s tighter than a rib tip from the Rendezvous  makes “Flyin’ Home From Memphis” a cool listen, indeed!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow

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