If You Want A Good Woman
Resident in Nashville, Tim Gartland first honed his blues skills in Chicago, then in Boston before moving to Nashville. "If You Want A Good Woman" is apparently his third recording and his slightly grizzled singing and sure sounding harp playing is featured here along with his songwriting on this recording of originals (some penned by his keyboard player Tom West). Others on this include Wendy Moten on supporting vocals; Tom Britt on guitar; Lynn Williams drums; and Steve Mackey on bass. Former Delbert McClinton band member Kevin McKendree recorded this, co-produced this with Gartland, and added organ and piano to a few selections.
Gartland certainly is ingratiating as a singer and harmonica player with his band providing able support, although much of this I would classify as blues-based roadhouse rock in the vein of Delbert McClinton. This is a descriptive observation, and does not relate to the quality of the music. Gartland has written some exceptional original songs (he has a way with words), and he and the band deliver very strong performances. His vocal on the opening "What The Blues Look Like," reminded me of Paul Butterfield, with some tasty harp and slide guitar. This is a terrific song that one can see many folks covering. "Hours Worth" is a rocker where he sings about having a hours worth of whiskey, and of rent that is a month past due. Wendy Moten provides backing vocals and there is a rollicky piano break.
His vocal on "I Had It" has some of the qualities of the recent world weary sounding singing from Charlie Musselwhite as Gartland expresses regrets about having had it all wrong. The title track is built around a reggae riff as he sings about a good woman that stay home if the man is doing her wrong, and after all a good woman simply wants a good man. Gartland does not overwhelm with his harmonica playing, but rather it ably complements his singing. The instrumental "Eight Ball" allows him to display his thoughtful, vocalized sound on harmonica
There is also a fair amount of humor to be heard here. On "Too Many Groceries," where tells this lady that she is as subtle as a train wreck, and she has too many groceries for her bag. Another wonderful song is a homage to Willie Dixon, "Willie That's Who." The lyric here laced with subtle references to some of the late blues giant's songs and lyrics. A driving instrumental "Go West," provides a lively coda to Gartland's rollicking set of blues and rockers that is wonderfully recorded.
I received my review copy from VizzTone. Here is Tim Gartland in performance.