Review: The Mighty Mojo Prophets – Flyin’ Home From Memphis

Posted on: Wednesday, May 15, 2013

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The Mighty Mojo Prophets – Flyin’ Home From Memphis

(Delta Groove Music: DGPCD0160)

Here’s a great Delta Groove release from Californian outfit, The Mighty Mojo Prophets – to these ears a bit of a throwback to the 90s when the West  Coast blues sound was perfected by such artistes as Rod Piazza, William Clarke and James Harman, who apart from their own talent, fronted swinging bands – with the line going further back to the likes of Pee Wee Crayton, Lowell Fulson, Big Joe Turner and more.

The Mighty Mojo Prophets have produced a varied 13-track collection on “Flyin’ Home From Memphis”, with all the songs penned by vocalist Tommy ‘Big Son’ Eliff and guitarist, Mitch ‘Da’ Switch Dow; with the rest of the band being the hot rhythm section of Dave Deforest (bass) and Alex Schwartz (drums), together with guest musicians, notably harmonica players San Pedro Slim and Alex ‘Lil A’ Woodson.

Proceedings get off to a swinging start with the ace “Sweetness” – a bouncy blues driven by Alex Woodson’s harmonica and a nice guitar groove from Mitch Dow and the fine vocals of Tommy Eliff; the following “The Gambler” is a nice jazzy shuffle dominated by Dow’s guitar work . The excellent “Lucky Man” again hits a great West Coast groove, with the other guest  harmonica man featured, San Pedro Slim. The band hit a soulful feel on “I Can’t Believe”, with the horns of Mark Sample (tenor saxophone) and Johnny V (trumpet) fattening up the sound, with a sterling contribution from Mike Malone on organ.

The rollicking “The .45” fairly rattles along, with Dow’s Elmore James riff and pushed along by the rhythm section of Dave Deforest and Alex Schwartz; they swing again on “California”, with a nod to the classic “Caledonia” . . . telling of “Flyin’ Home From Memphis” . . . a sort of title track, with more telling contributions from the horn players, and superb solo from Mark Sample. The longest track here, the slow blues of “Remember Me” gives all a chance to stretch out, fired by Dow’s sparkling guitar and Woodson’s harmonica.

Elsewhere “One For Me” is a straight-ahead T-Birds type rave-up; “Strong Medicine” rides on a classic Bo Diddley riff and “Jo’s Jive” is another uptempo blues highlighting particularly Mitch Dow’s guitar playing. “She’s Gone” is quite a diversion – a country tune with some fabulous piano from Mike Malone – a tale of the lady leaving never to return! The band are back to the business of blues on the standout “Street Corner Preacher” . . . think here of a mix of the classic soulful “Tramp” and James Harman at his peak . . . . funky organ galore from Mike Malone.

This comes highly recommended, with not a clunker in sight . . . a fine band and great enjoyable pure blues album!

GRAHAME RHODES

www.deltagroovemusic.com

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