In reviewing Quintus McCormick’s debut CD Hey Jodie (Delmark), this writer found it to be “a marvelous debut album by a blues voice I to hear more from.” About two years later and Delmark has brought us its follow-up Put It On Me! It is a release that builds upon his strengths whether working ins straight blues or in a straight deep soul vein. On this release, in addition to his fine quartet of John Chorney on keyboards, Vic Jackson on bass and Jeremiah Thomas on drums, their are appearance by Billy Branch on harmonica and the Chicago horns.
About his prior album, I observed that McCormick has “developed into a contemporary urban blues voice with a strong soul-blues tinge. He brings a vocal style that captures elements of Charles Wilson, Little Milton, and others with an intense guitar style… .” There is more of this on this release that show him moving from a lazy Jimmy Reed styled shuffle You Just Using Me; to Talk Baby, with its funk and his high tenor vocal; and to the soulful ballad How Quick We Forget, with some deep Brook Benton evoking singing, with a fuzzy toned, buzzy guitar solo. Its a pretty remarkable variety, and that’s just the first three numbers.
There is a fine blues, I Got It Babe, with a Malaco groove (think Down Home Blues) where he sings “I got what you need, make you scream like you’re sweet sixteen” to effective spare backing. John Chorney shines on keyboards here. Another good blues is The Blues Has Been Good to Me with a fine vocal and nice harp from Billy Branch. In contrast, Loveland, with the Chicago horns, is a ballad with a nice groove. The following blues shuffle, “Don’t Know What to Do, has more fine Billy Branch harp and a strong McCormick vocal, but also a fuzzy blues-rock guitar solo that detracts from the performance. The title track is a nice blues performance whose melody hints at Muddy Waters’ classic recording of I’m Ready.
The country soul of “Sadie” has jazzier guitar playing as well with McCormick asking the woman to leave him alone. Another fine slow blues vocal is on Lady Blues with more good guitar (suggestive of mid-60s B.B. King and Detroit bluesman Johnnie Bassett) while the closing Hallelujah, is a wonderfully sung R&B styled gospel number played in a low-key manner. It closes an impressive second album by McCormick who certainly shows absolutely no sophomore slump on this excellent Put It On Me!
My review copy was supplied by the record company.