HEAR ME CALLING
NATURAL BORN THAT WAY
SACRED CAT RECORDINGS SCR0915 SCR0916
HEAR ME CALLING–LOOK BEFORE I LEAP–STILL I WANNA KNOW–DOING THE SAME TO YOU–BABY WHERE DID YOU GO–NO NO BLUES–SHE’S MAKING WHOPEE IN HELL TONIGHT–LOOK OUT YOUR WINDOW–DON’T BELIEVE WHAT PEOPLE SAY–SHE DON’T MAKE A SCENE–I KNOW I’VE GOT RELIGION
I’M GONNA LEAVE–LOOK OUT YOUR WINDOW–NATURAL BORN THAT WAY–LOOK BEFORE I LEAP–TAKE YOU BACK HOME–DOING THE SAME TO YOU–RIDE WITH ME BABY–IT MUST HAVE BEEN LOVE–I’M GONNA TELL THEM–COW PIES–DON’T BELIEVE WHAT PEOPLE SAY
For his latest release for Delta Groove, roots-blues guru Nathan James couldn’t decide whether to put out a solo acoustic set or a band set. In the end, he decided to do both! As such, “Hear Me Calling” is a one-man-band acoustic record, along with a set from his band, The Rhythm Scratchers, entitled “Natural Born That Way.”
The results are outstanding on both counts. The acoustic numbers capture the spirit and the vibe of the Delta thru the use of his vintage National Resonator, a 1956 Martin 00-17, and his own washboard guitar. Highlights for us included his original, “Still I Wanna Know–should I stay or shoukd I go,” done in a lively, Piedmont style. Curley Weaver’s “No No Blues” is played on the resonator and has a cool Robert Johnson feel. The acoustic portion closes with the traditional gospel of “I Know I’ve Got Religion,” showing Nathan’s versatility. Our favorite, tho, was the total opposite of gospel, and was Nathan’s take on a Lonnie Johnson song, the bawdy tale of a cheatin’ woman about to meet her fate, “She’ll Be Makin Whopee In Hell Tonight!”
“Natural Born hat Way” is Nathan with his band, The Rhythm Scratchers, and these cuts cover Fifties’-styled rock, New Orleans-flavored R & B, and good ole down home blues. He also covers four of his originals from the acoustic set, presented with the full band. Highlights include the staccato-guitar-driven tale of a woman who “never holds back from havin’ herself a time,” because she’s “Natural Born That Way.”
On this set, “Look Before I Leap” has a Huey Smith vibe, thanks to that piano from Sonny Leyland. “Doing The Same To You” is done with a stop-time, rhumba beat, and Nathan gives a churchy, sanctified read of Earl King’s “It Must Have Been Love.” “Cow Pies” is a cool instrumental with harp from Troy Sandow, while our favorite led off this set. It is a very fine take on Freddy Fender’s “I’m Gonna Leave,” with more of that roadhouse piano from Sonny Leyland.
Nathan James is an unbelieveable talent on today’s scene. With two eclectic and varied sets such as “Hear Me Calling” and “Natural Born That Way,” his versatility is unparalleled! Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.