Arthur James review…May 16, 2019….

ARTHUR JAMES

HEY…I’M STILL HERE

ROLLIN–I MELT WITH YOU–ANGEL FROM MONTGOMERY–IF I WERE A CARPENTER–IN MY ROOM–WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN–IF I HAD POSSESSION OVER JUDGMENT DAY–DRIFTIN BLUES–ROCK ME BABY–BIG ROAD BLUES–PARCHMAN FARM–SPOONFUL–LITTLE RED ROOSTER–GOOD MORNIN BLUES–RAMBLIN ON MY MIND–MAGGIE’S FARM–TRIMMED AND BURNING–SUSAN’S SONG

New Hampshire bluesman Arthur James has been playin’ these blues for a mighty long time now, and never fails to keep his audiences not only entertained, but on their collective toes as well, introducing nuances and subtleties throughout his material that sometimes veers from the norm.  For his last go-round, “Me.Myself, And I,” Arthur concentrated more on his original material, but this time, he’s taken a mix of eighteen of his favorites, a few originals, some fan favorites, as well as some of the best-known songs in all of the blues’ canon and turned it into “Hey…I’m Still Here.”

There are so many highlights, we’ll start with one of our favorites.  His vocal takes on a Dylan-esque timbre in a cool read of ol’ Bobby Zimmerman’s “Down On Maggie’s Farm.”  “Rock Me Baby” bristles with the spark of “how good Arthur James can feel,” when “yo’ back ain’t got no bone!”  Arthur hits the upper register of his range as he begins Robert Johnson’s iconic “Ramblin’ On My Mind,” and sings like a man running from a Hellhound on “If I Had Possession Over Judgment Day.”

We had two additional favorites.  He puts an old-time Delta spin on Modern English’s 1982 hit, “I Melt With You,” turning it into a bluesy tour-de-force.  He also uses a throaty vocal delivery to its fullest on that tale of “if dreams were lightning and thunder was desire,” that “Angel From Montgomery.”

Arthur James uses  only his voice and guitar to convey some of the deepest and most primitive blues this side of Clarksdale, and wants everybody to know, “Hey…I’m Still Here!”   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

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