Kenny Smith review…March 27, 2019…

KENNY “BEEDY EYES” SMITH

DROP THE HAMMER

BIG EYE RECORDS  BER 005

HEAD POUNDER–HEY DADDY–DROP THE HAMMER–SCRATCHIN YOUR HEAD–WHAT IN THE WORLD–NO NEED BROTHA–PUPPET ON A STRING–KEEP ON PRETENDING–LIVING FAST–SECOND HAND WOMAN–ONE BIG FROWN–MOMENT OF SILENCE

Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith is a consummate drummer and vocalist who learned the blues from a seat that most of us can only imagine.  His dad was the legendary Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, and Kenny grew up in a home where Muddy was a frequent visitor.  Kenny also follows the mantra that the blues, much as everything else in life, was created to change, grow, and adapt to its surroundings.  Kenny and his All-Star band, The House Bumpers, pull all this together thru the use of contemporary sounds while staying firmly rooted in the blues of his father.  The set is entitled “Drop The Hammer,” and is one Pops would definitely be proud of!

Depression-era Delta blues crashes headlong into the 21st Century on the leadoff “Head Pounder,” with Billy Flynn on sitar and guitar, and Omar Coleman on the harp.  “What In The World” uses more contemporary sounds, including clavinet and organ, as well as guitars from Ari Seder and Buddy’s son, Greg Guy, to tell the sad tale of today’s society and its addiction to cell phones.  And, our hero is trying to dodge a cougar on the prowl on the biting commentary of “Puppet On A String,” featuring the mighty Sugar Blue on harp.

OK–full disclosure here.  We are as “old-school” as Kenny’s dad was, and we gravitated toward those cuts that had that “Chicago blues” feel, just like Muddy and Willie played back in the day.  As such, our favorites included “Hey Daddy,” with Kenny’s kids gettin’ in on the fun, his anthem of empowerment, “Keep On Pretending,” and the poignant instrumental, “Moment Of Silence,” that pays tribute not only to Pops, but to all those greats who ever played a note.

Kenny Smith has successfully combined the sounds of today with those played by his famous father, from the perspective that only Willie’s son could do.  He’s sho’ nuff gonna “Drop The Hammer” on contemporary blues!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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