Vintage Guitar - September 2018 - Open - 110

HIT LIST REVIEWS
Little Freddie
King
Fried Rice &
Chicken

Rocky Athas

Shakin' the Dust
As SRV said oh
so long ago, there
must be something
in the water. Veteran guitarslinger
Rocky Athas is back with another truckload of Texas blues, proving he has drunk
deeply from the wellspring.
As with his previous albums, Athas
blazes throughout and never lets up. He
swaps between searing Strat, 335, and Les
Paul tones, and his songs here are full of
f lavorful bends and finger-licking-good
riffs.
The collection deals out a fine selection
of originals and covers done right. Tunes
like the standout "Texas Girl" prove the
point; snarling guitar to a swinging Texas
shuff le with clever lyrics and soulful vocals. Athas is backed by his son, Rocky II,
on bass, with production by Jim Gaines.
Athas' cover of Calvin Carter's classic

Rocky Athas and
his 1970 Les Paul.

"I Ain't Got You" hits the gas pedal on
the original. And the album hits a fine
finale with a stylish rendition of Jimi's
"Villanova Junction."
This album is guaranteed to shake the
dust out of your speakers. - MD

Soulive

Cinematics Vol 1.

Within any band
the question always
arises, "How do you
keep growing but
remain true to your
chosen style?" For Soulive, who started out
as a traditional organ trio in the late 1990s,
it had to be a massive challenge.
Soulive has beaten the odds by slowly
morphing their sound while maintaining
their core ingredients. On their latest, drummer Alan Evans, keyboardist Neal Evans,
and guitarist Eric Krasno begin the first of
a series of releases only available in digital
and vinyl formats. With fresh insights, the
trio has created film soundtracks for your
daily existence.
John Shaft had Isaac Hayes' "Theme From
Shaft" as he walked through Harlem in the
1970s. Soulive presents tracks like "Kings
March" and "Bluebird," which will add a
smooth badass urban flavor to your most
mundane activities.
There's some fine restrained musicianship
from Krasno as he administers classic octave
work on "Side Kick." The reverb-drenched

VINTAGE GUITAR

110

September 2018

"Waves" with its cool Curtis Mayfield
double-stops would be just the thing for
the next Quentin Tarantino crime thriller,
or serve equally well as you sit in traffic on
70mm film. - OJ

Chris Smither
Call Me Lucky

The latest from
Smither is a double
release, but the second disc is basically
different forms of
songs from disc one, except for a dazzling
cover of the Beatles' "She Said She Said." He
doesn't play much guitar on disc two - but
plays plenty on disc one.
You'll get your stomping acoustic blues
right off the bat with "The Blame's On Me."
The song also illustrates Smither's skill at
composing lyrics. Pretty much everything
he writes here has a clever lyric that is never
a throwaway, as can happen in this style of
music.
"By The Numbers" is a lovely, wistful
ballad. His acoustic is a treat on pretty much
every cut, as is his everyman's voice that
sounds extremely lived in.
The covers here are amazing for their
surprising arrangements. Chuck Berry's
"Maybellene" gets a minor-key makeover that
works perfectly with Smither's fingerpicked
background powering it, along with Matt
Lorenz' violin. For the blues classic, "Sittin'
On Top Of The World," Smither picks up an

Rocky Athan: Arnie Goodman.

Bluesman Little
Freddie King is a
Louisiana Music
Hall Of Famer, cousin to Lightnin' Hopkins,
and a hell of a guitar player. With a resumé
that reaches back to Slim Harpo, Champion Jack Dupree, Bo Diddley, and John
Lee Hooker, King has cut his own stylistic
path. Funky, earthy, and countrified, King
plays blues that recalls his early McComb,
Mississippi, beginnings.
This is a compilation of songs featuring
re-mastered instrumental and vocal compositions culled from King's two Orleans
Records discs, Swamp Boogie and Sing Sang
Sung, released in 1995 and 2000 respectively.
This is gritty, vibrant, real-deal stuff!
King's artistry was born from decades
performing in tiny black blues clubs in the
Deep South. Tracks include "Mean Little
Woman," "I Use To Be Down," King's reimagining of Lead Belly's "Cotton Fields"
renamed "Kinky Cotton Fields," and Junior
Walker and the All Stars' "Cleo's Back." Also
included are 1999 performances recorded at
the Dream Palace in New Orleans.
King's raw emotional feel and vocal style
make this cherry stuff for the hardcore blues
fan. - OJ


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