THE SOUL OF JOHN BLACK
EARLY IN THE MOANIN
CADABRA RECORDS CAT CDB 197604
CAN’T BE HELPED–EARLY IN THE MOANIN–CHICAGO BLUES–CROOKED LEG–CHER–THURSDAY MORNING–DAGGERS–I WISH I WAS MAKIN LOVE–EARLY RISER–SUNSET DRIVE
Guitarist and soul-blues man John Bigham is better-known in the blues community by the moniker The Soul Of John Black. He began his career playing guitar for El DeBarge, and came into prominence after an eight-year stint with ska-punk band Fishbone, and met the blues at an unlikely Crossroads–while working as a sideman for Miles Davis, John met John Lee Hooker and was struck by how easily the free-form jazz of Davis co-existed with Hook’s endless boogie. That chemistry is what holds the grooves together in his latest set, “Early In The Moaniin.” It’s the Delta infused with the inner city, with doses of soul, funk, and even a touch of hip-hop, and is full of unique and eclectic jams.
He leads off with the chugging tale of a love so strong that he “Can’t Be Helped by nobody but you,” but when it all goes south, and turns into an affair “broken into a million pieces,” John can’t help but feel the biting-cold winds of those “Chicago Blues.” Strong slide guitar simmers over the boiling lust of our two lovers on “Thursday Morning,” recounting the days leading up to their consummation, but, alas, this too shall pass, and is documented by the soulful, scratchin’ guitars that drive those “Daggers in your eyes” from a woman scorned!
Our favorite was easy. “Crooked Leg”is a shot of contemporary soul-blues dealing with John’s pursuit of a lover not only endowed with that crooked leg but a “crooked heart” as well. It’s beat is infectious, and John’s acoustic guitar is the perfect complement.
The Soul Of John Black has not been compromised. He’s just taken a bit of a sabbatical, long enough to hit the streets, and come back to us with these soulful gems that do their best runnin’ ’round “Early In The Moanin!” Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.