Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

COLIN JAMES

MILES TO GO

2018-12-09

Nineteen albums into his storied career, Canadian bluesman Colin James revisits his roots with nine covers of tunes that inspired him as well as a couple of originals. Even though the tunes pay homage to their roots James isn’t necessarily bound by them. Indeed, songs like Muddy Waters’ "One More Mile" and Blind Willie Johnson’s "Soul of a Man" get a makeover with an upbeat, horn-driven treatment on the former and an energetic gospel style reading of the later. (James reprises "One More Mile" in an acoustic version at the end of the disc which hews closer to the original). Geoff Muldaur’s "Tears Came Rolling Down" is recast from its acoustic roots into a tough rocker. Elsewhere, he captures the raw essence of the originals as on Muddy Waters’ "Still a Fool", which features razor sharp guitar riffs and guttural vocals, Howlin’ Wolf’s "Ooh Baby Hold Me", which retains that tune’s stuttering guitar riff, Big Arthur Crudup’s "Dig Myself A Hole" featuring an ominous threat to the woman who dares to think she’s leaving and Jessie Mae Robinson’s oft-covered," Black Night", which wallows in its loneliness and deep sense of despair. His original "I Will Remain" has a silky smooth Boz Scaggs soul blues feel while his "40 Light Years" channels rocker Chris Isaak with its slick sheen and sinewy groove. James’ confidence as a guitarist is revealed by his tasteful restraint on tunes like "I Need Your Love So Bad" where he could fill the space with dozens of notes but, instead, picks just a few well-placed ones to move the song along. Overall, a fine disc that breathes new life into these relatively well-worn tunes. SMITTY

review by Mark

More reviews tagged #Blues

  • reviewed 06/2008

    MISSISSIPPI HEAT
    HATTIESBURG BLUES

  • reviewed 01/2011

    CATHY LEMONS & JOHNNY ACE
    Lemonace

  • reviewed 05/2011

    BRAD VICKERS & HIS VESTAPOLITANS
    Traveling Fool

  • reviewed 10/2010

    CHRIS HARPER
    Four Aces And A Harp

  • reviewed 01/2017

    Sugar King James and the Chess Masters
    Tru Blu Mud - A Tribute To Muddy Waters

  • reviewed 07/2011

    LAURIE MORVAN BAND
    BREATHE DEEP

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.