Mark Hummel review…December 28, 2019……

MARK HUMMEL

WAYBACK MACHINE

ELECTRO-FI RECORDS 3459

FLIM FLAM–HELLO STRANGER–SO MUCH TROUBLE–CUT THAT OUT–ROAD DOG–PLAY WITH YOUR POODLE–BREATHTAKING BLUES–CRAZY ABOUT YOU–PEPPER MAMA–GILLUM’S WINDY BLUES–RAG MAMA RAG–GOOD GAL–REEFER HEAD WOMAN–FIVE LONG YEARS–SAY YOU WILL–MEAN OLD FRISCO

Mark Hummel is a Grammy-nominated harpblaster, singer, composer, and bandleader.  He was born in New Haven, CT, but his family soon relocated to L. A.  Growing up, he found a passion for blues harp, and has never looked back.

On each new album, Mark looks for a different, fresh angle, and “Wayback Machine” is no different.  On this set of sixteen mixed originals and covers,  Mark takes us back to the days of the “country blues” era of the Bluebird record label, doing everything in a stripped-down manner.  Mark produced the set at Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studios in San Jose, and all these cuts have that vintage feel and sound.

Up first, Mark is on vocal on the cautionary, topical tale of  “the chief Denier,” and three guesses as to whom “Flim Flam” is referring.  This one has Aaron Hammerman on keys and Dave Eagle on percussion, better known as the Deep Basement Shakers.  Mark has a lot of fun with “Cut That Out,” with fine guitar from Billy Flynn, “Play With Your Poodle,” and “Rag Mama Rag,” this one featuring Aaron on vocals.

Joe Beard, one of the last remaining true Mississippi bluesmen, and a great personal friend to Mark, is on vocals and guitar on the three acoustic cuts that close the set.   First up is the pleading slow-blues read of “Five Long Years,” giving way to Mark’s original, “Say You Will,” which has a good ol’ Lightnin’ Hopkins feel.  Closing the set, we all get a ride on that “Mean Old Frisco, and that lowdown Santa Fe!”

Mark Hummel’s vision to create a “country blues” album built around his harp and the excellent talents of the special guests who are accompanying him makes “Wayback Machine” a killer set of traditional blues with a cool contemporary twist!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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