Music You Don't Know You Like Yet
2013-03-31Kicking things off with the tough, sinewy "Your Lady, She's Shady", which features an expose of a buddy's lady as little more than a dog in heat, JJ Grey & Mofro weigh in with another slab of swampy southern-fried soul, blues and rock. With a soulful horn section and keys adding color to the grooves, the disc treads the back roads between Memphis and Muscle Shoals with Booker T & the MG's, The Stones, The Black Crowes, the Drive By Truckers and even Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers as mile markers along the way. That's not to say that this crew is derivative of any of them: only that they lay down grooves that would fit in well with some of their best work. Throughout, Grey turns a sharp eye towards situations that strike a common chord. "Tame a Wild One" is a horn driven look at the tragic waste of a relationship that comes from trying to impose an iron fist on a free spirit while "99 Shades of Crazy" is a first person account of someone who isn't willing to agree to disagree and is ready to settle the issues in dispute with whatever force is necessary. He's not just a fighter though: "Write A Letter" starts as a low key ballad but morphs into a majestic anthem as Grey attempts to will a letter home to his baby. "Florabama" is a slinky ode to the infamous bar that straddles the Florida and Alabama state lines in the Gulf of Mexico where the parties get fueled by the sticky gulf breezes. "Harp & Drums" is just plain sticky with its distorted vocals and chattering horns, harmonica and guitar. Turning reflective, on The "Ballad of Larry Webb", Grey sticks up for a simple man who lacked the trappings of success but lived happily, honestly and fully. The title track finds Grey latching onto a home town river as a centering point for the craziness in his life. With solid writing, terrific grooves and earnest, emotion-laden vocals this is another top notch set. Smitty
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