Review: Johnny Cox – Thin Blue Line

Posted on: Monday, Jun 30, 2014

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Johnny Cox – Thin Blue Line

(Self-release)

The Cox family moved to Canada in 1985, giving up their hotel business in Motherwell, Scotland for a new life, in a new land, as a good many others have done in the past and although, Johnny is more than happy in his home in Uxbridge, Ontario where the family moved to all those years ago, he still occasionally yearns for the country of his birthplace.

The move all those years ago did though, place him one step closer to the birthplace of the blues and in the intervening years between then and the very fine debut album by Johnny we have now enabled him to sharply focus his mind and playing skills not only on the blues artists that had and were still coming out of the British Isles but, on the vast number of individuals who were the very originators of the genre.

The eleven original compositions encompass nearly all the facets of the blues with an intrepid foray into reggae with “All These Tears”, which is a loose and jangly affair compromising of insistent harmonica pulses that infectiously join a relaxed and colourful percussion, happily sliding in is a low level wah-wah guitar.  The sombre and somewhat sullen “Long Day”, concerns a longing to be with a loved one whose location is only four hundred miles away; the low and sparse but, very emotive ringing guitar says it all.

Joining Johnny who takes lead vocals and guitars is Richard Greenspoon; drums (who also co-produced the album with Johnny), Ian DeSouza, Malcolm McCuaig, Jerome Tucker and Kenny Neal Jr.; bass, with Marty Sammon; Keyboards, harmonica players Ansgar Schroer and Robbie Bellmore with Neil Braithwaite on tenor saxophone.

The rich lazy train sounding harmonica on “Your Love” sets the scene for a downhome ambling love song with a stirring guitar solo in just the right place.  The even more stirring guitar of “High Price To Pay”, rockingly, rolls all asunder in its’ highly enjoyable musical sauntering. A finger snapping and bubbling Jazz influenced keyboard and percussion introduces the sharply picked guitar mover that is “Something For Me”, while “The Thin Blue Line”, is a swinging, Dobro picked country blues ambling rambler with a sweet and tasty harmonica in there somewhere.

Recommended!

BRIAN HARMAN

www.johnnycox.ca

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