Ted Drozdowski’s Scissormen review…July 21, 2015…

TED DROZDOWSKI’S SCISSORMEN

LOVE AND LIFE

DOLLY SEZ WOOF RECORDS   DSW 002

BEGGIN’ JESUS–LETTER FROM HELL–THE RIVER–WATERMELON KID–LET’S GO TO MEMPHIS–R. L. BURNSIDE (SLEIGHT RETURN)–CAN’T BE SATISFIED–BLACK LUNG FEVER–DREAMING ON THE ROAD–LIVED TO TELL–UNWANTED MAN (FOR WEEPIN WILLIE ROBINSON)

For the latest set from Ted Drozdowski’s Scissormen, “Love And Life,’ the duo of guitarist-vocalist Ted Drozdowski and drummer Matt Snow becomes a trio with the addition of bassists Marshall Dunn and Robert E. McClain, Jr., and enlist special guests Paul Brown, from Bobby Rush’s outfit, on keys, and Mighty Sam McClain on a guest vocal.

Before moving to Nashville, Ted spent a lot of time in the North Mississippi Hill Country, and he is doing a great job in “carryin’ that bidness on” of the sounds of the legends from that region, including Jessie Mae Hemphill, Junior Kimbrough, and R. L. Burnside.  Ted also wanted each song to tell a story, all the while incorporating his “anything goes” approach to blues guitar.  If you want a good example of his uniqueness, check out his old group, The Devil Gods, and their burnin’ version of “V-8 Ford Blues!”  Ted uses modern technology to effectively layer the sounds of his guitars to give this music his desired sound.  The party starts with a tune laying bare man’s constant battle between good and evil, “Beggin’ Jesus,” because “on the road to perdition, I’m payin’ every toll.”  It has a killer slide solo, also.  Ted uses echo-effects, and Matt’s drumming lead the way in a cool tribute to the “man with the superior mind,” bluesman and Mensa member Bill Homans, ol’ Watermelon Slim himself.  It’s presented here as “Watermelon Kid,” and “you can write a book about all the things he’s did!”

Ted busts out his homemade one-string diddley bow for a psycho-blues read of Muddy’s “Can’t Be Satisfied,” and pays tribute to “two grandpas I never knew,” both of whom died from “Black Lung Fever” before he was born.

We had three favorites, too.  First up is a sweet Stax-like soul tune with vocals from Mighty Sam McClain, pleading with a lover to “Let’s Go To Memphis, and paint Beale Street red!”  Paul Brown’s organ work, coupled with Sam’s vocal read gives this one a real churchy, sanctified feel.  Ted recounts a dream in “R. L. Burnside (Sleight Return)” over an ultra-funky groove where R. L. comes back to “drink some whiskey and watch Amos ‘N’ Andy on TV!”  And, proof that Ted really wanted to get weird and have some fun on this set, is Ted’s echo-soaked Letter From Hell,” where “it’s kinda warm, but the Devil treats me well!!”  Matt’s stompin’ beats and Ted’s hellhound slide make this one as eerie as a moonlight trip to the Crossroads on Friday The 13th.

Ted graciously sent us an autographed review copy of “Love And Life,” with an inscription that reads, “It’s Alive!”  It’s that Colin Clive, mad-scientist mantra that makes his music so unique, and with his love for the blues and the spirit of the Hill Country legends as a backdrop, this set is an avant-garde blues gem!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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