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Big-T & the Bada-Bings


The Blue Eyed Devils
The Legend of Shorty Brown

The distinct immediacy in the southern blues tradition can strike even the most hardened Yankee like a slap in the face. The Blue Eyed Devils found an inroad to that tradition in producer Jimbo Mathus' Shorty Brown Studio deep in the wilds of North Carolina. Armed with peach brandy moonshine, the boys took just three days and produced a valiant tribute to the smoky downhome blues bands that have come before them.

For a bunch of white pickers from San Francisco, the Blue Eyed Devils have a remarkable feel for the mournful howl of the blues on these songs, recorded in the same purely live fashion as field recordings of the original blues legends. From the first delicate duet between Brendan Wheatley's sharp harmonica and Chris Cotton's rough-voiced wail on "Good Times," to the akimbo boogie of the album-ending "Trouble," the ghosts of long-dead bluesmen like Lightnin' Hopkins or Slim Harpo seem to have haunted Shorty Brown's place for the Devils. In between, Cotton and Wheatley trade off choruses on "I'm Movin' Blues," "Bare Bones Woman Blues," and "3am Blues." There's a lot of hurtin' to be had here.

Jimbo's production (surely learned from his own experience with the Squirrel Nut Zippers) also capitalizes on an atmosphere where you can almost feel the sweat coming off the walls and hear the scrape of fingernails on washboard and heavy boots coming down hard on beaten plank floors. Something has come out of the swamp and infected this disc. Beware, beware.

—S. Clayton Moore

Year 1999 Reviews
Year 2000 Reviews
Year 2001 Reviews
Year 2002 Reviews
Year 2003 Reviews
Michael Andrew & Swingerhead—Destination Moon and Michael Andrew Pays Tribute to Frank Sinatra
Susie Arioli Swing Band—Pennies From Heaven
Blue Eyed Devils—The Legend of Shorty Brown
Tony Fortunato and The Emperors of Swing—1
Ronnie Haig—Still Kickin' Butt
Harmonious Wail—Nonchalant
Frank Lamphere—Ain't Love a Kick
James Last—Gentleman Of Music
Billy Murray—Anthology: The Denver Nightingale
Jeff Potter & The Rhythm Agents—Rhythm Riot
Lee Press-On & The Nails—El Bando en Fuego!
Rhythm Rockets—Take Off
Jane Russell—Let's Put Out the Lights
Swing Legacy—Dancing on a Blue Moon
Don Tiki—The Forbidden Sounds of Don Tiki and Skinny Dip with Don Tiki
Retro Reading Reviews
The Art of Noir: The Posters and Graphics from the Classic Era of Film Noir

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