John’s Blues Picks June 2015 – Clayton Doley “Bayou Billabong”
Maple Blues June 2015 – Vol. 31 No. 6
Clayton Doley “Bayou Billabong” (Hi-Fi-Doley-T/CDBaby) | claytondoley.com |
The long time keyboard accompanist for Harry Manx is this young man from Australia. He’s also filled in for Booker T, when the MGs needed him and he played on Texas bluesman Eugene ‘Hideaway’ Bridges’ last album, Roots & Vines. After his all-too-brief residency here he’s back Down Under but journeyed to New Orleans to record portions of his new disc. He used players from Jon Cleary’s Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Trombone Shorty’s Orleans Avenue and Galactic. The rest of the disc was recorded in Sydney with among others didgeridoo player Ganga Gil who also played on Manx’s last couple of discs. Calling the album Bayou Billabong was thus an inspired choice.
The title song is a perfect example of this cultural blending: Manx’s Mohan Veena comes in after the didgeridoo and then some New Orleans horns and back up singers come in over guitar and Doley’s B3 – delightful, and danceable. He proved on his last album Desperate Times that he was also a singer/songwriter to watch and the vocals here justify the star power. “Disbelief”, “Waiting For Coffee”, “Starting Right Now” and especially “Lose It” show a remarkable ability to write in the New Orleans style. “Lose It” starts with some Professor Longhair piano as Doley sings about his girl’s bad habits. “I Live For You” is a jazzy mid tempo song with great singing from Doley and a knock out B3 solo. “Starting Right Now” could be from a Trombone Shorty album but it’s a Doley original about a new relationship that’s a perfect way to end the disc. Let’s hope he gets back here to play some of these songs for us.