Blues With Horns Vol 1
Moon Voyage Records
The Colorado based Chris Daniels And The Kings brings together a touch of rock to their soul-blues mix. Both guitarist and vocalist King and vocalist Gowdy are cancer survivors, but still bringing it decades after they first started. The Kings are in their 33rd year while Gowdy's career goes back to the 1960's. The mood of this is funky, horn driven rhythm and blues as a cross between Memphis and New Orleans.
One of King's influences is Little Feet and its evident on the opening "Sweet Memphis" with guest Sonny Landreth's slide guitar (Calvin 'Bones' Jones takes most of the lead guitar on this album). The next number, a homage to age-old juke joints and down-home blues, "Fried Food/Hard Liquor," has Gowdy's authoritatively joining in the vocal after the instrumental breaks from harp (Clay Kirkland who is not credited on the album), guitar runs and sax on a performance with an arrangement that evokes Steely Dan. Gowdy himself co-penned the James Brown styled, "Get Off the Funk," and takes the terrific vocal on Sam Cooke's "Soothe Me," followed another strong performance on the Bobby Bland classic "Wouldn't Treat A Dog (The Way You Treated Me)." There are a couple of solid Johnny 'Guitar' Watson covers ably sung by Daniels, "Baby's In Love With The Radio," and "You Can Stay But That Noise Must Go," with the latter influenced by Walter 'Wolfman' Washington's rendition. Daniels captures the humor of Elvin Bishop's "Can't Even Do Wrong Right," while Gowdy channels Buddy Miles on a blues-rock take on Miles' classic "Them Changes," with everybody joining in on this jam.
The Subdudes' John Magnie on piano joins King on acoustic guitar and harpist Kirkland on the closing "Rain Check," with a back door porch feel. This low-key number contrasts to the strong, horn-driven, soul-funk-blues of the rest of this recording.
Strong vocals, first-rate material and an excellent backing make for some fine listening.
I received my review copy from a publicist. This review originally appeared in the November-December 2017 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 375). Here they are performing.