Review: Too Slim and the Taildraggers – Blue Heart

Posted on: Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013

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Too Slim and the Taildraggers – Blue Heart

(Underworld Records / The Burnside Distribution Corporation: UND0022)

Too Slim and the band have moved from Washington to Nashville and it is there, where they have recorded their new album yet there are virtually no overt or identifiable country influences here on this album at all but, there certainly are others; for, the overall feel of the music is of one that ranges from the laconic cool Americana of The Blasters to the grinding and latently aggressive blues rock of Free with a few others in between.

The eleven numbers are markedly different yet, they also seamlessly fall into place, “Wash My Hands,” sets the pace with insistently raw urging guitars from T.S. and Bob McNelley, with T.S. providing equally abrasive vocals over the top while Tom Hambridge; drums and Tommy MacDonald; bass, lay down a crashing rock solid underpinning foundation while  slashing and sliding guitars keenly prowl around, this theme is continued with “Minutes Seem Like Hours,” but, you also get the feeling that you are living inside the world of a seamy, messy and sticky Elmore Leonard novel.

The sympathetic pairing of Reese Wynans anchoring B3 organ and the emotive Harmonica playing of Jimmy Hall on the title number ensures a faithful and highly enjoyable rendition of classic Chicago blues, the pleasing “ Good To See you Smile Again,” contains the style and phrasing that puts you in mind the living legend that  is B.B. King. “If You Broke My Heart,” is a splendid and footapping relentless drum and guitar onslaught that is very reminiscent of Motorhead (yes, it does work) for the impetus and speed of the playing lifts it out of the standard ‘boogie’ category.

The energising, ominous raw slide and crashing drum work that introduces and prevails throughout “Preacher,” is full of wandering menace as it describes the actions and intentions of a man that prefers to wave a bottle rather than a bible. The album finishes very satisfyingly with “Angels Are Back,” which is a thoughtful slide driven tale of redemption and returning faith that is hypnotically accompanied by soothing ephemeral, almost tabla sounding percussion work.

Highly Recommended!

BRIAN HARMAN

www.tooslim.org

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