Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

JOHN-ALEX MASON

JOOK JOINT THUNDERCLAP

2011-02-25

While he’s joined here on a number of tracks by the likes of Cody and Cedric Burnside, Gerry Hundt and Lightnin’ Malcom, John-Alex Mason often plays as a one man band laying down percussion, rhythm and lead guitar to back up his roots stained vocals. His last effort, "Town and Country" split its time between hot-wired electric numbers (town) and spare acoustic tracks (country). This release trends towards the relentless groove associated with the Jook Joint of its title. "Rolled and Tumbled" is a slinky number with the mid-song breakdown on the Stone’s "Midnight Rambler" coming to mind. "Gone So Long" features some testifying by Cody Burnside while "Diamond Rain" gets a bit of an Appalachian twist by virtue of Lionel Young’s fiddle work. Oscar Brown’s "Signifying Monkey" is pulled from is soul roots and is rendered dark and almost ominous here. "Free" is a rocking number featuring Mason in his one man band format laying down a groove so Fat that lots of three piece outfits would have trouble duplicating it. That said, Fred McDowell’s "Write Me a Few of your lines" benefits from interplay between Mason, Lightnin’ Malcolm and Gerry Hundt’s fleet fingered blues mandolin. The major change up here is the spare, acoustic "Whisper" where Mason leaves the Jook Joint behind in favor of a sincere ode to his lover. Unlike Town and Country which was made more to listen to than to heat up the dance floor, this set has the goods necessary to make the party happen. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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