Smoky Greenwell review…August 9, 2016…

SMOKY GREENWELL

SOUTH LOUISIANA BLUES

GREENWELL RECORDS  GR102

ANIMAL ANGELS–LET’S WORK TOGETHER–BOOGIE TWIST–LONESOME LONELY BLUES–YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU–PICK IT UP–I HAD A DREAM LAST NIGHT–I’M GLAD SHE’S MINE–TWO HEADED WOMAN–THE HUNCH–DIRT ROAD BLUES–WALKING WITH MR. LEE

Smoky Greenwell is a brilliant, well-rounded musician, composer, and vocalist, who has made a career  playing music in the blues clubs in and around New Orleans for decades.  His latest album, “South Louisiana Blues,” is a tribute not only to his deceased parents for their life-long support, but to the music, spirit, and heritage that permeates the various styles played in this region.  There are four band originals and eight covers that draw from writers as diverse as Dylan to Willie Dixon.  Joining Smoky, who’s on harp, sax, and vocals throughout, is his group of “usual suspects,” Jack Kolb on guitar, and David Hyde on bass.  There are also a few special guests that we’ll address in a bit.

The set kicks off with a thumpin, “endless boogie” band original, “Animal Angels,” where “life’s a journey–let’s enjoy the ride,” as   Smoky’s harp blows strong  over  some nasty slide guitar from Jack.  Smoky has a lotta fun with Wilbert Harrison’s iconic “Let’s Work Together,” featuring Johnny Neel on piano, and backing vocals from Lynn Drury and Dana Abbott.

Remember the days when instrumentals ruled the airwaves?  Smoky and the band have got ’em in spades.  There’s a mighty funky original, “Pick It Up,” which has Joe Krown on B-3, as well as a sweet “Boogie Twist,” and a guitar-laced Jack Kolb original, “The Hunch.”

We had three favorites, too.  Smoky and his harp offer up some sage advice for us all.  “You don’t need a lotta money to be happy, ’cause You Can’t Take It With You When You Go,” another solid original.  Dylan’s “Dirt Road Blues” takes on a country-blues feel over Pete Addish’s “walkin’ beat” drums, and the set closes on a killer note.  One of our all-time favorite instrumentals has always been Lee Allen’s “Walkin’ With Mr. Lee,” and Smoky’s sax along with Johnny Neel’s call-and-response B-3 made this one swing from git-go!

Smoky Greenwell and his band have developed a fantastic working chemistry over the years they have played together.  You can hear how they trade off one another and bring it all together throughout the grooves of “South Louisiana Blues!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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