Review: Georgie Bonds – Stepping Into Time
Posted on: Sunday, Dec 28, 2014
Georgie Bonds – Stepping Into Time
(8th Train Records/BGB MUSIC, Inc)
Georgie was born in Germantown in Philadelphia, the now 47 year old musician has carried on the musical heritage that his father and grandfather had perpetuated as jazz men (another musical connection within the family is that his cousin ‘Bootsy’ was the lead vocalist with The Silhouettes who had the hit record “Get A Job,” ).
Originally he wanted to be a cowboy and his love of horses led him to owning and riding his own steed, unfortunately at the same time he had an equal love for illegal pharmaceutical products and he decided to go into business for himself, equally unfortunate was the fact his very first customers were F.B.I. agents and this led him into a jail term of just under three years in 1976.
Whilst in jail Georgie had plenty of time to ponder his future and while gaining himself a formal education he passed the time by learning the guitar and writing his first blues number entitled “Another Year,” based upon his life in prison, although, he possessed little or no knowledge of the blues he with the encouragement of other inmates pursued the potential of performing as a future career.
After his release from jail and armed now with his twin passions he embarked upon a career as a professional farrier (blacksmith) gaining over time the necessary qualifications to work full time with the animals he loved. At some point during his fourteen years as a farrier time he borrowed a tape of Robert Johnson recordings and this in turn led directly to Georgie’s first performing foray into the blues world at the Barbery Club on Delaware Avenue in 1990, singing “Stormy Monday,” (the only blues number he knew) after this performance an intrigued host, the legendary Sonny Rhodes decided to become Georgie’s mentor guiding and tutoring him in the right direction and in turn, to meeting other established blues musicians, leading him to where he is today.
Sadly, his rise was halted in 1994 by an attack of gout and Lyme disease, complications occurred, due to incorrect drugs being prescribed which led to nearly life ending third degree burns, kidney failure and later two hip replacements. After time and suitable compensation Georgie became able to continue his musical career (his new hips halted his horse riding days) which has allowed him to become not only the host of Warmdaddy’s the newest blues club in the oldest part of the city of Philadelphia but, the leader of his own band The Blueskeepers, who are also the resident club band. He has also trod the boards of Broadway as a cast member of the Tony nominated musical “It Ain’t Nothing But The Blues,”
The rich, warm emotional baritone tones of Georgie are well suited to his opening a cappella version of “St James Infirmary,” he creates a vivid atmosphere of painful desolation, grief and sorrow. Of the of the eleven other numbers only one is a cover, that being John Lee Hooker’s “Dimples,” which is an open, almost tactile rumbling drum driven coaster with rich searing guitar surfing the rufty, tufty percussion while over the top Georgie growls with love and impudence.
A surprise bonus number is a fine drawling steel guitar and harmonica slowburn version of “The Blacksmith,” with Georgie’s commanding vocal searing and branding the airwaves. The earlier version of the autobiographical “The Blacksmith,” is a sturdy, growling organ / slide driven pumper with Georgie duelling with a harsh and barbed bouncing guitar under attack from a raw, rasping harmonica. The New Orleans infused romping “Lord, Oh Lord,” has that highly infectious martial strut, with piano and drum beating a path to salvation and a lighter load, the rich sliding guitar and jollifying piano are almost as plaintive as the pleading vocals of Georgie.
The mournful slow burning harmonica duets with Georgie over the top of a even more mournful organ as he laments upon our downwardly spiralling morals, as in the “Daily News,” tales of sad and unnecessary daily deaths and atrocities that people inflict on each other for no apparent rhyme or reason. The grooving, strutting, funky guitar joins the riding urban organ roller that is “Dyin’ Is The Easy Way Out,” which deals with the simple fact that no matter how hard life has become, death is not a serious escape option.
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