ELAM MCKNIGHT BAND
I FEEL LIKE ROCKING–BROKEN EYE–RADIO–MOMMA TAKE ME–WELL I’M BAD–GONNA FIND ME A HOLE–HARD TIMES THEY IS–HOLD ME (JUST A LITTLE BIT LONGER)–SO WEEP THE SKY–LOVE ME–NIGHT WANDERER–OH MY BABY–LET ME BE YOUR SIDEMAN–RICH MAN GET RICHER (POOR MAN GET THE JAIL)
We’ve been fans of Elam McKnight ever since he busted on the scene straight outta West Tennessee with “Braid My Hair” in 2003. He’s released three other albums, all firmly rooted in a Beale Street groove while continuing to push the envelope within the sounds of the genre.’ For his latest album, “Radio,” Elam is on vocals and guitar, with Dudley Harris on vocals, guitar, and bass, and Eddie Phillips on drums.
The party starts off on the good foot with the echo-laden “I Feel Like Rocking,” then takes a philosophical turn with an Allman-esque cut, “Broken Eye.” Dudley takes a couple of cool vocal turns, with the acoustic tale of that ol’ “nother mule kickin’ in my stall” entitled “Gonna Find Me A Hole.” He keeps that vibe going with “Hard Times They Is,” featuring Bob Bogdal on harp.
The poignant title cut is Elam’s ode to youthful lust and how to recapture those feelings, while a more mature Elam realizes that nobody’s perfect, and forgiveness is often the best medicine. It’s spelled out perfectly in “Hold Me (Just A Little Longer).” Just like a Mason jar of good ole West Tennessee ‘shine, the blues on this album get a little stouter the farther along in this album you go. That fore-day creepin’ “Night Wanderer” is set over a strong blues-rock groove, while Elam closes the set with a shot of acoustic blues that is just how this ol’ world works–“Rich Man Get Richer, Poor Man Get The Jail!”
We had two favorites, too, both on the rockin’ side of the fence. Elam gets his Muddy groove on with a killer stop-time take on “Well I’m Bad,” while Jim Gambino’s piano fuels the rapid-fire boogie of “Let Me Be Your Sideman, sugar, like you never had before!”
We’ve always believed that we live in the most-musically-diverse place on the planet. Hop in our car and head west for an hour and we can pick up Elam, Dudley, and Eddie, and drive another hour or so and we’re all rockin’ the blues down on Beale with the Elam McKnight Band’s “Radio” blastin’ outta the speakers! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.