James day and the Fish Fry review…May 3, 2015…

JAMES DAY AND THE FISH FRY

SOUTHLAND

NEON BLUE/VIZZTONE  VTJD 2561

CHAIN OF PAIN–NEXT NEW THING–MUSCADINE WINE–TIME AND MONEY–NAT’CHEL MAN–FISH FRY JUMP–COUNTRY WOMAN–ONE STEP DES CHAMEUX–DON’T BRUISE THE MELONS–WEATHER BLUES–ZYDECO BOOGALOO–FESTIVAL TIME–MONEY SMARTS AND CHARMS–SOUTHLAND

As did many of us, James Day grew up in the South–affectionately dubbed the “sweet homeland of the blues” by the late Phil Earhart, our good friend who fronted the Jefferson Street Bluesmen for many years.  James specifically grew up in Biloxi, and spent some time in New Orleans.  As such, he absorbed everything musical that the region had to offer–not only blues, but R & B, Stax/Hi soul, zydeco, and gospel.  For his latest set, “Southland,” he combines all his influences onto these fourteen cuts of high-octane grooves guaranteed to get you movin!

James is on vocal, harp, slide and baritone guitar, and is joined by some very special guests throughout.  Check out James’ workout on the big ole chromatic harp, the “goodbye one-horse town” shuffle, “Next New Thing.”  “Time And Money” has James on baritone guitar, with harp from the inimitable Mark Hummel.  Ron Baldwin’s boogie piano kicks off the rollicking “Fish Fry Jump,” again with James workin’ that chromatic.  He touches on the traditional Zydeco music of the region with “One Step des Charmeux,” featuring Bill Nixon on fiddle and Ron Baldwin on accordion, while the horn section fires up a chugging slab of boogie, “Don’t Bruise The Melons,” the story of Red Brazel, a Greenville, FL, melon farmer.  “Money Smarts And Charms” has James using mojos, black cat bones and ole John the Conqueroo to put a spell on a lover, set over a scorching rockabilly beat.  The set closes with the title cut, a laid-back anthem to the region that runs on “country time,” with harp from Mark Hummel.

We had two favorites, too.  The first is a unique gris-gris of jug band music of the 1920’s, “Nat’Chel Man,”  with clarinet from Wally Bechtold, Grappelli-like fiddle from Bill Nixon, and eight-stringin’ from the master, Rich del Grosso.  And, a haunting ode to Camille, Katrina, and other infamous storms of the region is “Weather Blues,” with more mandolin from Rich, harp from Mark Hummel, and James on the cigar-box slide guitar.

James Day and the Fish Fry are the epitome’ of a good time.  Put on “Southland” and –laissez les bon temps roulet!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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