Too Slim And The Taildraggers review…June 21, 2013…

TOO SLIM AND THE TAILDRAGGERS

BLUE HEART

UNDERWORLD RECORDS   UND  0022

WASH MY HANDS–MINUTES SEEM LIKE HOURS–BLUE HEART–MAKE IT SOUND HAPPY–GOOD TO SEE YOU SMILE AGAIN–WHEN WHISKEY WAS MY FRIEND–IF YOU BROKE MY HEART–NEW YEARS BLUES–SHAPE OF BLUES TO COME–PREACHER–ANGELS ARE BACK

 

Tim “Too Slim” Langford is a native of Spokane, but for the last year or so, Washington’s loss is our gain, as he now resides in Nashville.  And, for his sixteenth album overall, he’s assembled some great local talent to go along with the Taildraggers.  They’ve combined their talents to create “Blue Heart,” for Underworld Records, and it’s a stomp-down good ‘un, with nine originals and two covers that takes the listener on a guided tour of love, life, and the pursuits thereof, led by Slim’s undeniable guitar and vocal talents.

 

Joining Tim are producer Tom Hambridge on drums and backing vocals, Rob McNelley on second guitar, and Tommy McDonald on bass, with a few special guests along for the ride.  A man who’s led a lofe of sin seeks redemption and tries to “Wash My Hands in the muddy Mississippi,” but finds these lifelong stains hard to shed.  “Make It Sound Happy” gives a nod to vintage Stones, while Tim uses the grunge-y guitar sounds of his homeland in the rapid-fire assault of “If You Broke My Heart,” and again on Dave Duncan’s “The Shape Of Blues To Come,” featuring Reese Wynans on B-3.  “New Years Blues” looks at helping those less fortunate, while another tale of excesses brought on by bouts of loneliness is “When Whiskey Was My Friend.”

 

Favorites and notable cuts abound, too.  A unique, Ennio Morricone-meets-Mickey Spillane guitar pattern washes over “Minutes Seem Like Hours since you went away.”  The title cut is done in classic Chicago-blues style, and refers to a trusting-yet-pensive lover who feels safe in giving Tim her “big Blue Heart made of glass.”  Jimmy Hall adds the harp on this one, and the vocals on the slow-burn of “Good To See You Smile Again,” about a lover who’s just a wee bit crazy, but who’s fightin’ the good fight to gain control in her life.  This one again features the smooth keys work of Reese Wynans.

 

The set closes with two powerful tunes.  “Preacher” has Tim layin’ down some devilish slide as he sings of a “preacher man comin’ not with a Bible, but a bottle in his hand.”  And, the ethereal, percussion-heavy “Angels Are Back” brings the album full-circle, as the sinner in the opening cut gets final redemption from the angels who call him home.

 

The cool thing about “Blue Heart” is that each time you listen to it, you are likely to hear a subtle nuance or a little something you missed on last listen.  Tim “Too Slim” Langford is a master at his blues craft, and this set is a sweet listen indeed!   Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.

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