Junior Watson review…October 7, 2019….

JUNIOR WATSON

NOTHIN TO IT BUT TO DO IT

LITTLE VILLAGE FOUNDATION  LVF 1033

UP AND OUT–DON’T FREEZE ON ME–LOUELLA–SKA-RA-VAN–A SHOT IN THE DARK–WHOLE LOT OF LOVIN–SUMMER LOVE–THAT’S TOUGH–ONE WAY STREET–WELL, YOU KNOW–SPACE FLIGHT–I FOUND YOU–SO GLAD SHE’S MINE–THE PEE WEE CLASSIC-YOU’RE GONNA NEED ME BEFORE I NEED YOU

Junior Watson is one of the most unique guitarists in all of contemporary blues.  He was a founding member of the Mighty Flyers, along with Rod Piazza and Miss Honey.  He spent ten years with them, and the ensuing ten with Canned Heat, before touring with Lynwood Slim.  He’s played onstage at The Blues Music Awards, and with Finis Tasby, George Smith, Shakey Jake, and about a bajillion others.  He was influenced by all the greats, and his fat-toned amalgam of blues, jazz, and vintage R & B is the theme of his latest album, “Nothin’ To It But To Do It.”  Recorded at Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studios, both Junior and Kid produced,

Junior is on guitar and vocals on a few cuts,  as is Alabama Mike, and Kid’s wife, Lisa Leuschner-Andersen, stepping in front of the mic after a stint as backing vocalist.  The whole set is a collection of original tunes and several obscure R & B gems re-booted specifically for this set, all well-known by Junior.

Of the varied instrumentals, we had two favorites.  First, Sax Gordon Beadle adds the horn over Junior’s jumpin’ guitar lines in a cool tribute to Pee Wee Crayton, the aptly-titled “Pee Wee Classic.”  Done up in a unique ska-groove, everyone has a great time with a re-working of Duke Ellington’s “Caravan,” presented here is “Ska-Ra-Van.”

On the vocal side, we had three highlights.  Lisa shows her chops as lead vocalist on the Fifties’-inspired set-closer, Chuck Sims’ classic, “You’re Gonna Need Me Before I Need You.”  Next up, Junior takes lead vocal n the Chicago-styled blues of “Well, You Know,” featuring Gary Smith on harp and Jim Pugh on keys.  Finally, Alabama Mike is on vocal on a tune he co-wrote with Junior, the slash-and-burn slow blues of “A Shot In The Dark.”

Junior Watson plays whatever he feels at any given moment.  That spontaneity coupled with his brilliant guitar tones and stylings make “Nothin’ To It But To Do It” a real crowd-pleaser!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

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