Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Studebaker John's Maxwell Street Kings Kingsville Jukin'

Studebaker John's Maxwell Street Kings is back with his gritty, grungy blues on a new CD on Delmark, Kingsville Jukin'. John Grimaldi on vocals, guitars and harmonica, is joined here by guitarist Rick Kreher, bassist Bob Halaj and drummer Steve Cushing on 16 songs that range from driving rockers like the opening Mississippi Blues to the closing evocation of Elmore James (and Hound Dog Taylor and J.B. Hutto) Bad Gasoline, performed without band.

There is some Jimmy Reed styled harmonica against a lazy shuffle groove on When They Played The Real Blues in which he proclaims "doesn't it make feel good when you hear that simple low-down groove." There is some tough harp on She's Allright, with its insistent beat, although the lyric is not much more than him proclaim she's all right with him. The Rest Is Up To You is a hot shuffle with hot amplified harp followed by an affectionate salute to one of his inspirations, Hound Dog Taylor on I Am the Houserocker, with some grungy sounding slide that would make Hound Dog smile. It in turn is followed by an evocation of Howlin' Wolf on Howlin' in the Moonlight

Kingsville Jukin'is a showcase for John's harmonica and might be viewed as a slower musical cousin to Little Walter's Roller Coaster, with the Kings providing somewhat skeletal backing on this although it seems to end somewhat suddenly. Cold Black Night is a nice, moody atmospherical slow blues where he proclaims he follows this road to the end and if he had it to do over he would travel it again. Stop-time is effectively employed on Mojo Hand, an original of him wanting to find a mojo because she is a voodoo woman and he wants to be her man with him playing another solid harmonica solo.

John's gravelly vocals are supported throughout by dirty, fuzzy toned backing. I did find enjoying this more by listening to several selections at a time as opposed to listening to this album in one sitting. At the same time, I have no fault with any specific performance. The result is the simple, direct house rocking blues found on Kingsville Jukin'.

I received my review copy from Delmark. Here is a short clip of Studebaker John.

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