In much the same vein as last year’s Big City Back Country Blues with Brandon Isaak and Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne, Tim Williams has partnered with Big Dave McLean and inventive percussionist Kevin Belzner to bring you another example of the benefits of collaboration, within a mix of original and traditional blues. They get underway with a fine version on “Catfish Blues” staying close to the traditional verses with Williams on vocal & electric slide, McLean on harmonica and Belzner on his ‘cocktail drum kit’. McLean does an excellent new one in “2X Crying”, accompanying himself on his National with Williams on acoustic. The slower “Hoodoo Woman” is a Williams original warning everyone about a certain type of woman, Williams on electric and McLean on harmonica. The same lineup does “A Hole in my Heart” in which Williams borrows a Little Walter tune. Charles Brown’s “Driftin’ & Driftin’” sees McLean in full Chicago mode on electric guitar with Williams on electric cigar box slide, a highlight among highlights. “Knockout Girl” is something a little different, with McLean half-singing, half-talking about this woman’s trail of destruction. The two electric guitars work up a solid accompanying groove. “Johnny Gigolo” has McLean telling the tale of a wife stealer who gets the fate he deserves. Williams plays mandolin along with McLean’s electric. The program concludes with two fine covers, Williams singing Sleepy John Estes’ “Goin’ to Brownsville” and McLean a new version of his signature cover of Barbeque Bob’s “Atlanta Moan”, Williams contributes a particularly fine mandolin part as does McLean sliding on his National. Tim Williams is normally thought of as a blues player but, as a glance at his discography shows, his interests encompass all kinds of roots music. Before emigrating to Canada and Calgary, he was born & raised in Southern California amid a large Mexican community whose sounds he absorbed completely. Recently he met up with some Mexican musicians who rekindled the idea of recording an album of this music he loved. Corazones Y Murallas is well beyond the scope of this column but I recommend you search it out.

January 2020 - Manitoba Hal
January 2020 - Bad Luck Woman & Her Misfortunes