Review: Duncan Street – Baptized By The Blues

Posted on: Sunday, Jul 27, 2014


Duncan Street – Baptized By The Blues

(15 South Records)

Very few people nowadays are ready or willing believe in chance, coincidence or simply happenstance but, in fact the duo Duncan Street, consisting of Dave Duncan and Stan Street; who came into being one afternoon after Dave decided to park himself on a bench which was situated on Second Street in Clarksdale, whilst sitting there he decided to amuse himself by strumming some blues on his faithful Dobro guitar. Unbeknownst to him, across the road a certain music loving gallery owner named Stan Street, who just happened to own The Hambone Gallery opposite, heard Dave and his musical musings. He immediately crossed the road and invited Dave to that evening’s musical event.

The subsequent pairing of the stalwart bluesman, whose career in Nashville has spanned over twenty years of playing and writing for artists such as; Jack Pearson, S.E. Willis and Curtis Salgado, and the music loving gallery owner who also happens to be a mean saxophone and harmonica player has, since that day in May of last year blossomed into a fine musical partnership; the pair have toured extensively since then and have also recorded this frill free and almost frugal sounding album. This description does not mean empty and boring, no, not by any means for, this is music as it should be, unadorned by gimmicks and too much electricity!

The eleven numbers here are all originals with the exception being, Muddy Water’s “I Be’s Troubled”, which is a joyously nimble and energetic toe tapper, with Dave’s crisp, bouncing acoustic guitar and Stan providing an almost ‘Little Walter’, driving, sparking harmonica. The title number is fuelled by a ruthless and relentless assault on the kick drum by Stan who also provides the haunting vocals and insistent harmonica, while Dave breaks in with searing and surging slide guitar passages. “Tater Salad Woman”, has echoes of Tony Joe White’s ‘Polk Salad Annie’, but, it also incorporates the driving energy of the classic delta work song courtesy of the kick drum and guitar it is garnished with a haunting howling harmonica and deep backing vocals.

“The Blues Comes in All Colours”, is a lazy brushwork and mellow acoustic number with an equally sweet and lazy meandering saxophone that emphasises in its message that there are no borders, boundaries or cultural barriers and checkpoints. The highly atmospheric invitation that is “Come To Mississippi”, is a lovely dollop of the Delta, complete with rhythmic handclaps aching kick drum, haunting vocals, urging harmonica and slidin’ guitar. Book your flight now!



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