Jimmy Carpenter review…September 15, 2017…

JIMMY CARPENTER

PLAYS THE BLUES

VIZZTONE–VTJC17

YOU BELONG TO ME–TOO LATE–JIMMY PLAYS THE BLUES–KID IN MY HEAD–BLUES WITH A FEELING–SURF MONKEY–CHANGE IS GONNA COME–PREACH–ALL YOUR LOVE (I MISS LOVIN’)–SHOTGUN

Jimmy Carpenter has been blowin’ that mean sax since his career started in 1980.  He’s played with Jimmy Thackery, Tinsley Ellis, and a host of others, which now includes Mike Zito.  It was Zito who urged Jimmy to record an album of classics, and got behind the project as its producer.  The result is the ten tunes that comprise “Plays The Blues,” for the Vizztone label.  Some of Jimmy’s best friends drop by to make this a sho’ nuff party, including Zito, Tinsley, Jonn Del Toro Richardson, Anders Osborne, Dave Fields, and plenty more.

Fans, this one plays out like a big ol’ party back at the chicken shack with the fellows playing everybody’s favorite tunes.  Wes Cide Rules with the leadoff cut, a blistering take on Magic Sam’s “You Belong To Me,” featuring Tony Ditendoro on guitar.   They revisit that groove a bit later, this time with Zito on vocals and guitar as the two of ’em work that rhumba-rockin’ blues of Otis Rush’s “All Your Love (I Miss Lovin).”

Wouldn’t be a sax show without some cool instrumentals, and Jimmy busts a move on several.  “Jimmy Plays The Blues” is a slow-drivin’ , down ‘n’ dirty lesson on how to coax some of the deepest shades of blue imaginable outta that horn of plenty.  Freddie King’s “Surf Monkey” has Tinsley Ellis on guitar,  and the great King Curtis’ “Preach” has that sax doin’ some mighty testifyin.’  The party closes ’bout 3  AM, with “everybody gonna pick tomatoes and dig potatoes,” doin’ Jr. Walker’s “Shotgun!”

We had two favorites.  One of Jimmy’s originals is a cool, piano-pounding ode to that teenage boy that still lives in the psyche’ of all us guys, and makes us do weird things, all due to that “Kid In My Head.”  And, for us, one of the most beautiful songs of the Sixties was Cooke’s immortal “Change Is Gonna Come.”  Jimmy and Anders Osborne on subtle guitar will give you goose bumps as they turn this iconic tune into an emotion-packed instrumental.

Jimmy Carpenter steps to the front of the stage on these ten classics, and gives them all his no-holds-barred treatment.  The whole thang has a vibe that is old-school at heart and contemporary in nature.  So, y’all git on back to the chicken shack and dig “Plays The Blues!”  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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