Saturday, March 05, 2011

The Blues Doctor Cures The Blues

I have written about the Music Maker Relief Foundation several times (such as here) and the activities they undertake on behalf of blues and other musicians in need. MMF has compiled a substantial body of recordings by its associated artists and among the latest CDs they have issued is Hallelujah Boogaloo by Drink Small, who is known as “The Blues Doctor.” The Blues Doctor label drink uses in part is a reference to his ability to play a variety of styles. After all, he grew up in the church (first recording as part of a gospel group) as well as learning Blind Boy Fuller tunes. It also refers to his ability to make you feel good by his playing the blues.

Drink Small is among the Music Maker Foundation Artists that has a significant body of recordings for having recorded for a variety of labels including Ichiban and his own Bishopville label (referring to South Carolina hometown). The present CD was recorded by Tim Duffy between 1997 and 2005 by Tim Duffy. It contains 11 songs and clocks in at just under 45 minutes. These are solo performances and cover a wide range of material and while all the songs are credited to Drink Small, some are not such as Blind Boy Fuller’s “So Sweet” and “Blues By the Drink” which is a revamped “Baby Please Don’t Go.”

There is a gregarious quality to Drink Small’s performances that is evident throughout, whether on the opening “Widow Woman” with a folk-tinge, to his exquisite rendition of Fuller’s So Sweet, as well as his Song With No Name, where he references Howlin’ Wolf and howls and moans. His language can get raunchy at times as on Moanin’, which is definitely not radio friendly or simply descriptive as on Woman Love a ManThat Can Play The Slide. His guitar playing whether in a Blind Boy Fuller mode as on So Sweet or playing slide, is thoughtful and crisply executed . The vigor of his performances and the varied material makes for quite an enjoyable recording.

I obtained this as part of my Givin’ It Back Record Club membership which includes a quarterly CD release as a premium for my donation to MMF, but also can be acquired on its own from MMF at

I am writing this a week before the Music Maker Foundation hosts on Monday March 14 Capitol Blues Night at Clyde’s, at Gallery Place in Washington DC. Only a limited number of tickets are available for this fundraiser for Music Maker Relief Foundation. There will be musical performances by Captain Luke, Ironing Board Sam, Big Ron Hunter, Mudcat, Bubba Norwood and Sol, the event offers an evening of diverse and feet-stompin’ music and in addition to the phenomenal entertainment, tickets will include beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres. Go to for more details on the event and how to order tickets.

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