Review: Grady Champion – Shanachie Days

Posted on: Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012

Grady Champion Shanachie Days CD Cover

Grady Champion – Shanachie Days
(GSM Music Group: GSM 7600-12)

Grady Champion is a highly-charged, raspy-voiced singer/harmonica player from Mississippi. Shanachie Days is a 17-track compilation of songs drawn from two previous albums – Payin’ For My Sins and 2 Days Short Of A Week. All the numbers have been written by Grady Champion, eight of them in collaboration with Dennis Walker. He is backed on the album by an array of musicians including guitarists Alan Mirikitani, Mike Turner, Ben Peeler and Duke Robillard; bass players Richard Cousins and James Itveld; and drummer Lee Spath.

The album opens with the plaintive “Brother, Brother” before boogieing on with “I’m Smilin’ Again” and shuffling along with “Lady Luck”. “Policeman Blues” has a funky edge while “Dreamin’” is a medium-paced rocker and “Roberta” shuffles into focus with more than a hint of Sonny Boy Williamson II. “Love Is My Middle Name” delivers a helping of soul, complete with a bustling horn section, before the upbeat Texas shuffle, “Let Me Be”, bursts into life, followed by the equally energetic “Honeybee”.

“Payin’ For My Sins” provides another helping of soul while the upbeat rocker, “Stop Chasing Me”, sees Grady Champion’s raging harp doing battle with Alan Mirikitani’s searing slide guitar. “Nothing I Can Do” is another shuffle, which features some typical brilliance from Duke Robillard on guitar and makes way for the social commentary that is “Children Of The Corn”. The horn section returns on “You Got Some Explaining To Do” before the anguish of “Troubled Mind” is reinforced with another helping of strident slide guitar. The New Orleans-style “Wine And Women” then leads to the splendid, upbeat rocker, “My Rooster Is King”, with a final flourish of trademark harp from the main man.

This album epitomises Grady Champion’s enthusiasm and energy and by compressing two previous albums into one offers great value for money.

Lionel Ross

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