Review: The Soul of John Black – The Good Girl Blues

Posted on: Monday, Aug 24, 2009

THE SOUL OF JOHN BLACK

“The Good Girl Blues”

(Yellow Dog Records: YDR 1576)

Without doubt one of this year’s finest releases has been the “Black John” album from The Soul Of John Black, on Eclecto Groove Records – therefore it’s a pleasure to report this, his 2007 offering on Yellow Dog Records of Memphis, is also a quite superb offering!

The Soul Of John Black – John Bigham – is a melting pot of blues, hip-hop, soul and funk with a most modern feel, yet echoing the history of the blues, the ex-Fishbone member possessing a tremendous voice as well as playing all guitars and drums! Besides his eight-year stint in Fishbone he has toured and recorded with the likes of Miles Davis, Eminen, Bruce Hornsby and Everlast.

The opening track, “The Hole”,  is almost a re-make of a field or prison holler, albeit with a contemporary edge, and is a great opener. The following “The Moon Blues” is a lovely bluesy track, showing off his simple, but biting guitar work and soulful voice. “I Got Work” hits a soul groove, with the tougher “Good Girl” possessing some great slide guitar work and thumping bassline from Shawn Davis.

“Fire Blues” rolls nicely, with strong backing vocals from Laura Jane Jones, Kandace Linsey and Jonell Kennedy, and more of Bigham’s lovely guitar work. “Moanin’” is a deep, dark blues with his anguished cries and acoustic guitar, followed by the swampy feel of the instrumental “Slipin’ and Slidin’” with DJ Phizz Ed’s turntables highlighted.

The funky “Swamp Thing” is another highlight with more fine slide guitar work and a driving funky beat with Bigham giving another superb vocal; the country-tinged “One Hit” and the heavy beats of “Feelin’s” are more examples of the variety of the recording . . . which ends with a reprise of the opening track, “The Hole”.

John Bigham sees this work as homage to his influences such as Leadbelly, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins and more . . . if you imagine their work with a 21st century makeover you can see where he is coming from – highly recommended as a companion to this year’s previously mentioned “Black John”!

GRAHAME RHODES

www.thesoulofjohnblack.com

www.yellowdogrecords.com

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