BLIND LEMON PLEDGE
RUN JOHN RUN–MOON MADNESS–NAG NAG NAG–CORA LEE–BIRMINGHAM WALK–5 WEEKS OF HEAVEN–SHE BROKE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS–YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE–O KATRINA–YOU KNOW YOU REALLY GOT THE BLUES–KOKOMO–RAILROAD MAMA
Born James Byfield, the blues world knows him as Blind Lemon Pledge, a name he trademarked in 2015. A multi-instrumentalist, he also produced his latest set for OFEH Records, “Pledge Drive.” Over the course of these twelve originals, “BLP” (for short) takes the listener on a musical journey that covers blues, Fifties’-styled R & B, New Orleans jazz, and just about anything else you can think of.
This party starts in the post-Civil War South. Set over a dark, driving, Diddley beat, “Run John Run” chronicles a runaway slave with the “Night Riders on the way!” “Moon Madness” takes stalking to an even darker level, and features “cat-on-the-prowl” harp from Jenny Reed.” “Birmingham Walk” uses a cool Little Feat vibe to convey the tribulations of the oppressed during the Civil Rights movement of the Jim Crow South.
Jenny Reed shows up again on the harp in the brooding story of a soured love affair–“She Broke The Ten Commandments and then she broke my heart!” BLP’s hellhound-slide guitar rides over the harp lines, making this one feel as if it came straight up from the Delta. Stone country-blues closes the set, as BLP hearkens back to his jug band roots, utilizing spoons, washtub, and banjo in the good-timey “Railroad Mama.”
We had two favorites, too, and they both rocked the joint. “Nag Nag Nag” uses piano and horns over BLP’s N’Awlins-styled groove about a man who’s stuck with a lover who does nothing but “rag rag rag ’til half-past late at night” Rick LeCompte adds to the vintage sound with a wailin’ sax. And, a balls-to-the-wall rocker reminiscent of classic Stones tells the story of a lovesick man who ends up with a “lifetime of misery” all for “5 Weeks Of Heaven!!”
We said this was a varied and eclectic outing, and, as you can see, this one covers many styles and situations. Blind Lemon Pledge is a monster player of many instruments, and makes “Pledge Drive” a sho’ nuff sweet ride, indeed! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.