The Mannish Boys review…July 12, 2014….

THE MANNISH BOYS

WRAPPED UP AND READY

DELTA GROOVE MUSIC  DGPCD 165

I AIN’T SAYIN–EVERYTHING’S ALRIGHT–STRUGGLE IN MY HOMETOWN–WRAPPED UP AND READY–IT WAS FUN–I CAN ALWAYS DREAM–I IDOLIZE YOU–YOU BETTER WATCH YOURSELF–SOMETHING FOR NOTHING–CAN’T MAKE A LIVIN–THE BLUES HAS MADE ME WHOLE–I HAVE LOVE–TROUBLES–SHE BELONGS TO ME–DON’T SAY YOU’RE SORRY–BLUES FOR MICHAEL BLOOMFIELD

Every time a new Mannish Boys set is released, for us, anyways, it is the closest thing to a blues festival without leaving your living room.  Between the regular lineup and the special guests, just about everyone who is anyone in West Coast blues makes an addition to this fabulous sixteen-cut collection, which is sho’ nuff “Wrapped Up And Ready” on the Delta Groove label.

The core band consists of Sugaray Rayford on vocals, Randy Chortkoff on harp and vocals, Eli Fletcher on guitar, Paris Slim Goldwasser on guitar and vocals, Willie Campbell on bass, and Jimi Bott on drums.  Check out “You Better Watch Yourself,” with Sugaray’s vocals set over a funky, James Brown-style arrangement, with serious harp from Jacob “Walters” Huffman.  Paris Slim also brings the funk on a tune that details a man who’s so far down that even his mother has disowned him, entitled “Struggle In My Hometown,” with a tricky time change mid-song.  Slim returns near the close of the set with a slide guitar exercise that tells a lover “Don’t Say You’re Sorry, ’cause you didn’t do no wrong,” set over a Diddley shuffle.

Sugaray reaches down into that smotth, Charles Brown territory with his “crooning” style in “Troubles,” with harp from Kim Wilson, and on “Everything’s Alright,” featuring the successful return of David “Kid” Ramos on guitar.  Kid has battled health issues for quite some time now, and it is great to see him back where he belongs.

Steve Freund takes an excellent vocal and guitar turn on a song that could easily serve as his biography, as he sings that “my purpose is to play the blues on this guitar,” and “The Blues Has Made Me Whole.”  Candye Kane and her guitarist extraordinaire, Laura Chavez lay down that smoky, passion-flower groove of Ike and Tina’s “I Idolize You,” with fine harp from Randy.

Our favorite was easy.  Earlier this year, a boxed-set tribute to Mike Bloomfield was released, as a tribute to this great bluesman who left us waaay too soon back in 1980.  As such, Eli Fletcher and Monster Mike Welch trade slow-blues licks and solos for eight glorious minutes in the set-closing “Blues For Michael Bloomfield.”

The Mannish Boys never fail to deliver powerhouse blues, comin’ at you with everything they’ve got.  These guys live and breathe this music, and “Wrapped Up And Ready” is dedicated to the Number One Mannish Boy, Finis Tasby, and is one of their finest sets to date!!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society.

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