Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Jimmys Live in Transylvania

The Jimmys
Live in Transylvania
Brown Cow Productions

Led by keyboardist and vocalist (as well as one who helps on his family's 1500 acre Dairy farm), Jimmy Voegeli, The Jimmys, is one of the hottest blues bands out of Wisconsin with its mix of modern and jump blues. Recorded at the 2015 Sighisoara Blues Festival in Romania, this new disc is full of hot jump blues grooves with slashing guitar, greasy organ and rollicking piano, and hot riffing brass.

A hot organ instrumental, "Jacqui Juice," kicks things off with the leader starting off with some strong organ before the horns add their voices before Pete Weber takes a guitar solo that sounds like a cross between Pee Wee Crayton and B.B. King followed by Charley Wagner taking off on trumpet, then some booting sax from Pete Ross before the leader returns with some deep burning organ. Kudos to John Wertenweiler on bass and Mauro Magelian on drums for pushing the groove here and throughout.

It is followed by a jump blues, "I Wonder" with the leader on piano with some T-Bone Walker styled guitar from Weber with Voegeli wondering where his love gone and what she does to him as Darren Sterod's growls on the trombone. Voegeli's straight-forward blues shouting also has considerable appeal. There is a rock and roll feel on a cover of Jim Liban's jumping blues "You Can't Hurt Me Anymore," with Weber and the leader's piano featured. In contrast is "Hell or Heaven," a number in the manner of the pop supergroup, Chicago, and shows how solid Voegeli and band are playing non-blues material (also displayed on the group's closing number, The Band's "Ophelia").

The buoyant "Love will Find a Way," is followed by a credible interpretation of Mack Rice's "Cold Women," although Voegeli can't quite match Albert King as a singer. Nice to hear a cover that is not the usual over-played blues standards. The classic Freddie King recording "Lonesome Whistle Blues," is slowed down and reworked into how it might have been performed by B.B. King, with Wagner adding some growling obligatos. Weber sings the gruff sounding vocal on his medium tempo "You Say You Will," with a dedication to Hubert Sumlin as he takes a torrid solo. Voegeli's 'Lose That Woman" is a Ray Charles' styled romp with the rhythm laying down a terrific groove with short fiery solos from the leader, Ross and Weber.

The sound of this spirited location recording is quite good. Jimmy Voegeli and The Jimmys put on quite a show in Transylvania and listening to one can imagine what a party folks had that evening with this wonderful jumping blues performance.

I received from my review copy from a publicist. This review appeared originally in the January-February 2017 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 370). My review of "Hot Dish" the previous album by The Jimmys, appeared in the January-February 2016 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 364) but not on this blog and I will post it next week. Here are The Jimmys  at the 2015 Sighisoara Blues Festival.

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