Wednesday, August 6, 2014

This Ain't No Blues Show

The idea behind Boogie the Church Down is simple.  It’s the Juke Joint Pimps versus the Gospel Pimps.  Blues versus gospel Louisiana style.  The end result is that Voodoo Rhythm Records has another winner in a long line of champions.

Harmonica.  Drums.  Guitar.  Choir-like choruses.  It’s 14 songs that my daughter found incredibly odd and “old-time” sounding.  That it is, and I love it.  It’s a combination that works.  In fact, it is so cohesive that even after hearing it you may wonder where one band begins and the other ends.  I’ll tell you: it doesn’t matter.

Songs like “I Feel Guilty,” “Juke Joint in the Sky,” “King Roland’s Prayer” and “Keep Your Arms Around Me” are pure pleasures.  They fit in at church or a dark bar.  They cause toes to tap and heads to nod.  They inspire sinful hip gyrations and animalistic copulations.  Praise the Lord and pass the salt, Momma needs a spanking tonight.  These songs, for better or for worse, are a celebration of life and all that comes with it. 

I listened to this CD almost exclusively for two weeks before writing a review for it, as it was important to me that it sunk in properly before I tried to break it down into what worked.  Even now, however, I’m not sure I can do it right.  The fuzzy vocals coming from my speakers seem so organic, yet so powerful … I’m not sure there are proper words for what this release does to listeners.  

“King Roland’s Prayer” asks why it always rains on the song’s crooner.  It’s an honest question.  The answer, however, isn’t what’s presented in the song.  It rains because the music is magic.  Old blues is magic.  Gospel is magic.  Poverty row pontifications in song are magic.  It changes the elements.  It mutates.  It devastates.  That’s the answer.  Both line-ups, though, would argue that.  That’s fine just as long as they do it in song.  Anything else would be a tremendous waste of talent.