Review: Grady Champion – Back In Mississippi Live

Posted on: Saturday, Sep 18, 2010

Grady Champion CD Cover

Grady Champion
Back In Mississippi Live
Earwig Music GSM 7400

Singer/harmonica player Grady Champion grew up in a farm in Canton, Mississippi, the youngest of 28 children. Having engaged in the USA blues scene since 1997, he won the 26th Blues Challenge in Memphis in January 2010. Following that success, he has since been booked on high profile festivals and events, including the Chicago Blues Festival and the Ultimate Rhythm and Blues Cruise.

The thirteen numbers on the album comprise a mixture of eight original compositions and a handful of cover versions. The latter group features Willie Dixon’s “I’m Ready”, Jimmie Reed’s “”Baby What You Want Me To Do” and “Bright Lights, Big City”, which share the second track, and Howlin’ Wolf’s “Spoonful”. There are also terrific versions of “Lonesome Bedroom Blues”, which boasts a superb guitar intro and solo from Eddie Cotton Junior and BB King’s “Why I Sing The Blues”, with more guitar magic and a splendid harp solo from Grady Champion.

The original numbers include the Latin-rhythmed “You Got Some Explaining To Do”, the funky and bizarrely titled “1-800-Blu-Love” and the soul-edged “Policeman Blues”. “Love And Memories” delivers some fine keyboard work from Calvin Wilson while the upbeat shuffle, “Wine And Women” conjures up another splendid guitar solo as does the hard-driven “Brother, Brother”. The album concludes with the soulful ballad, “I’m Yours” and the slow blues, “Blues On Christmas”.

This is an enjoyable, lively blues compilation, which complements Grady Champion’s raw vocals and lusty harp work with a highly accomplished band of musicians, including the excellent rhythm section of Marquis Champion on bass guitar and Frank White on drums and the impressively dextrous Calvin Wilson on keyboard and Hammond B3 organ. However, special mention must be given to the superlative talent of Eddie Cotton Jr, whose guitar playing provides the delicious icing on the richly palatable cake.

Grady Champion Website
Earwig Music Website

LIONEL ROSS

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