HARD SWIMMIN FISH
TRUE BELIEVER–FIVE YEARS HARD LABOR–NO SHORTAGE OF THE BLUES–HOWLIN FOR MY DARLIN–OOH, THAT WAS CLOSE–LOVE ME OR YOU DON’T–COME TOGETHER–NEED YOUR LOVE SO BAD–GET GONE–ONCE UPON A TIME–MESS AROUND–DON’T LET THE DEVIL RIDE–WISH I WAS IN HEAVEN SITTING DOWN (HIDDEN TRACK)
Upon looking at the black-and-white cover photo of the latest set from Hard Swimmin’ Fish, one can see a young subject about to either be baptized or to receive a “laying on of hands,” as it were, from a group of church folks. After you listen to the eight originals and four covers that comprise “True Believer,” you will also get the feeling that your soul’s been cleansed in the murky waters of the blues!
These fellows hail from Virginia and the surrounding states, and they have a keen sense of the rich traditions of blues and folk that defines this region. Demian Lewis is on vocals, guitar, and banjo, Waverly Milor is on vocals and harp, Randy Ball is on bass, and Jason Walker drives the whole thing with his drums and Cajon, a box drum contraption.
The whole thing has a vintage Chess-by-way-of-Excello vibe, with mile-a-minute vocals, several acoustic-themed numbers, and a heavy dose of humor throughout. Starting off is the title cut, as our hero was originally a “True Believer” in a lover, but finds out she was “nothin’ but a liar!” After five years invested in a relationship, this time he gets the boot, but he and his “trusty .44” take care of bidness, But, our hero gets “Five Years Hard Labor” for his efforts! A cool country-blues is the story of several narrow escapes in the homes of irate husbands, and each one elicits an “Ooh, That Was Close” response! And, please do not turn off your device after the traditional gospel fervor of “Don’t Let The Devil Ride” is over, or you will miss a sweet hidden track read of “I Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down!”
We had two favorites, too—one original and one cover. The original is a tongue-in-cheek (and in other places, too!) look at the lengths a man will go for a woman’s attention. It’s the double-entendre’-filled “Once Upon A Time.” And, guitar lines replace the piano riffs as Billy Lee Riley-meets-Brother Ray in a delirious, amped-up, corn-likker-fueled, Sun-drenched rockabilly rave-up of “Mess Around!”
The good-time blues of Hard Swimmin’ Fish will sho’ nuff make a “True Believer” out of you! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.