There is nothing fancy about this recording of blues with an occasional zydeco touch. The Smoky Greenwell Band is a tight band that playing Louisiana Swamp Blues and Chicago blues except for the tracks with Sunpie Barnes that have a zydeco tenor. Greenwell impresses as a harmonica player throughout (the opening "Smoke Alarm" is an instrumental shuffle showcasing his tone and driving attack) and a capable saxophonist (as on "Peter Gunn"). Some songs have intriguing lyrics like "My Own Blues Club" where he sings about owning a club on Frenchman Street and the difficulties, especially after Katrina, that made him sell it. Set to a slow Excello type swamp blues groove, it has an earnest, if bland vocal.
While the back cover does not credit Mark Pentone as a vocalist, he capably sings on "Jodie," a new contribution to the "Jody" group of songs. "Love's Gone" has Greenwell on sax behind Sunpie Barnes on a nice rocking zydeco number while he plays both sax and harmonica on the boogie woogie-laced "Leroy's Shuffle." Barnes is perhaps the most appealing singer on this. The album closes with a John Lee Hooker inspired instrumental "Back to the Boogie." It is a solid performance that is representative of an enjoyable recording well worth checking out.
I received my review copy of the CD only from a publicist. This apparently is sold as a CD/DVD and I cannot comment on the DVD. This review originally appeared in the November-December 2015 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 363). Here is a video of the Smoky Greenwell Band performing at the Louisiana Music Factory.