Chris “Bad News” Barnes review…August 6, 2017….

CHRIS “BAD NEWS” BARNES

HOKUM BLUES

VIZZTONE RECORDS VT CB17

IT HURTS ME TOO–LET ME PLAY WITH YOUR POODLE–I’M GONNA GET HIGH–IT’S TIGHT LIKE THAT–I HAD TO GIVE UP GYM–THINGS ABOUT COMING MY WAY–YOU CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF THAT STUFF–HOKUM BLUES–SOMEBODY BEEN USING THAT THING–KEEP YOUR MIND ON IT–LET ME PAT THAT THING–CAUGHT HIM DOING IT–GIN MILL BLUES–CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR’S BLUES

Chris Barnes is not only an accomplished blues man,  but his satirical wit has fueled his career as a comedian and writer,  who has written and performed for “Saturday Night Live,” “30 Rock,” and a host of others.  We had the great privilege to review his debut album, “90 Proof Truth,” on November 19, 2015, and he has just released its highly-anticipated follow-up.  On this one, Chris takes fourteen songs most closely associated with the likes of Tampa Red, Georgia Tom, and Big Bill Broonzy.  They wrote these songs during the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, at the height of Prohibition and The Great Depression, when music was a great form of escape for folks.  The album is entitled “Hokum Blues,” named for the genre’ in which these songs are classified as.   They are bawdy, ribald, full of double-entendres’, and Chris keeps their original spirit intact and makes them funny as Hell.  He got an A-list of players to back him on this one, too.  Jimmy Vivino is on guitar, Steve Guyger is on the harp, Bette, Sussman is on piano, Will Lee is on bass, and Shawn Pelton is the drummer.

Blues fans are likely to be very familiar with many of these songs, presented herein in close resemblance to their original forms, thanks to the brilliance of the entire ensemble.  Jimmy and Steve lay down some mean dobro and harp, respectively, on the opening salvo of “It Hurts Me Too.”  Everybody from B. B. to Marcia Ball has wanted to “Play With Your Poodle–I mean your little poodle dog,” and Chris really has a lot of fun with it.

The double-entendres’ that make this thing so much fun are everywhere.  Check out “I Had To Give Up Gym,” “Let Me Pat That Thing,”  and “Caught Him Doing It,” this one featuring pounding piano from Bette.

We had two favorites, too.  Jimmy’s dobro is back in play as Chris lays down the sly-and-sexy story of love and lust, “Somebody Been Using That Thing.”  And, a song originally done by Tampa Red And The Chicago Five , “I’m Gonna Get High,” is revamped for today’s politically-charged climate,  with a solid shot to the Head Cheeto and his ubiquitous penchant for “tweets and rants and tellin’ them lies!”

Chris Barnes brings his wit and wisdom to fourteen classics from the era of speak-easies and bootleg gin, and all the (good) things that went along with it.   As W. C. Handy once opined, “You gotta hook ’em with the Hokum—-Blues!”    Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: