At first glance, Hank Mowery’s new recording Account To Me (Old Pal) might seem like a tribute to the late Gary Primich. The recording after all includes 5 songs written by Primich (2 of which were never previously recorded) and was produced with members of Primich’s family. Tad Robinson, himself a singer, songwriter and harmonica player like Primich and Mowery, calls it more of a collaboration between Mowery and Primich’s family. Adding to the collaborative character of this recording is the presence of bassist Patrick Recob from Primich’s band. Others on this include guitarist Troy Amaro, Chris Corey on keyboards, and John Large on drums and percussion. Jimmie Stager plays National steel guitar and sings on one track and Junior Valentine adds 2nd guitar to 3 selections.
Mowery certainly establishes himself with this recording as a singer, harmonica writer and songwriter with his rocking original Spend a Little Time, that kicks off this CD. Besides his strong, natural vocal and harp playing, Corey shines on piano and the Wurlitzer piano here. Account For Me is a previously unrecorded song that Primich penned and this soulful ballad has a bit of swamp pop feel. In addition to his heartfelt vocal he adds some very nice harp with Amaro taking a short solo full of bite. The rendition of Primich’s Put The Hammer Down is a nice cover of Primich’s original with tight, understated ensemble playing (with a neat repeated guitar figure) and is followed by a strong original slow blues from Mowery If I Knew What I Know which opens with him blasting on the harp.
Memphis Slim and Matt Murphy’s Banana Oil is a nice latin-flavored instrumental with jazz flavoring that allows Corey (on organ), Amara and Mowery to shine during their sharply focused solos. Tricky Game sports a understated New Orleans groove that contrasts with the solid shuffle My Home, with the lyrics lamenting the absence of his woman’s love. In addition to the splendid playing by all, Mowery stands out with his relaxed, natural vocals. Bassist Recob ably handles the vocal on his original, Target, built on a blues vamp that goes back at least to Little Willie John. Amaro stands out with his solo as well as his tone as part of the atmospheric backing here. Mowery provides harp backing to Jimmie Stagger’s vocal and guitar on a nice cover of Robert Wilkins’ depression era recording, That’s No Way To Get Along, that closes “Account To Me.” The music on this may sound familiar as Wilkins, after he gave up blues, redid this song as The Prodigal Son, which was covered by the Rolling Stones.
As noted, Account To Me is both a tribute to Gary Primich and a collaboration with Primich’s family. Mowery is himself a strong blues voice that is showcased on a most entertaining recording. This writer looks forward to hearing more form Mowery in the future.
My review copy was provided by a publicist for this release. Here is a clip of Hank Mowery performing