Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet


Smokin' Blues


A Man, A Plan, A Guitar: Mark T Small. Guitarist/Singer Mark T Small has played with lots of famous people, but here he is mostly playing by himself - solo and acoustic. You'll hear a dozen songs that other artists made famous, and he plays and sings in a dozen different styles. He calls it "Delta Blues with a Chicago Blues slant" but you'll hear much more than that. He plays slide guitar, he flat picks, and he fingerpicks. He spent some years focused on "progressive newgrass." I don't know exactly what "progressive newgrass" sounds like, but if this guy was playing it he must have made it sound good.

"Step it Up & Go" features boogie-woogie picking and rockabilly vocals. "Sell My Monkey" is sure to raise the what-the-heck-am-I-listening-to question. Lyrics: Me and my baby had a falling out. People let me tell you what it's all about. She wants to sell my monkey.

"My Daddy Was A Jockey" is inspired by John Lee Hooker's "Jockey Blues" and offers a rocking good time. "Going Down Slow" takes it slower and easier. Stretch out, sit back, and have a listen.

"Buck Rag" is indeed a ragtime tune, and it will have you smiling. "Walking the Dog" is NOT a solo effort - Shor'ty Billups alternates verses. You'll also hear Walter Woods hop in on harmonica in "Moanin' At Midnight."

All the rest are worth listening to and sharing, and you could probably build a blues education around this disk. It raps up with "America Medley" as arranged by Mark T Small. You'll hear 4th of July and nostalgic favorites - America, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Yankee Doodle Dandy, and then America again.  You don't have to wait for the fireworks show. You can play it anytime.

- Gerald Etkind

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.