Thursday, June 25, 2015

Dr. Isaiah Ross - Call the Doctor

Subtitled "Breakdowns and Blues by Mississippi One-Man Band", this is a pretty accurate description
of what you're getting here. Ross plays guitar, harmonica and drums and all fairly fluently, given the restrictions of playing all at once! The harmonica is generally the lead instrument, naturally, and there is plenty of energy and bounce to the rhythms, as well.

This is another CD that I just happened upon (I do love brick'n'mortar stores that have an actual blues section!), and I dig it a lot! I got mine at a discount price, so hopefully this is available generally. Ross opens with a vocal version of "Cat Squirrel" (pretty different than Cream's version, but recognizable) that moves into a straight acoustic guitar blues in "Blues & Trouble". There's a novelty number in "Freight Train" where he imitates a train with his harmonica, a take-off on "Rollin'n'Tumblin'" in "Illinois Blues", more guitar-oriented (as opposed to harp-centric) blues in "Hobo Blues", then the harp returns to front'n'center for another novelty number "Mam Blues", where he imitates a conversation with his harmonica. The Doctor performs a foot-stomper in the vein of John Lee Hooker in "My Little Woman" and a boogie with "Dr. Ross' Rock" and another groover with "32-20".

Ross continues with a Sonny Boy Williamson-styled take on "Good Morning Little Girlfriend", showing off his harp playing skills (without any other instruments), then back to his full "ensemble" for "Chicago Breakdown", again reminding me of a John Lee Hooker boogie (and "borrowing" the lyrics to "shake 'em on down"). More up-tempo coolness in "China Blues", a harmonica-driven version of "My Mama Done Told Me (When I Was a Baby)" in "Blues in the Night", another stripped-down foot-tapper in "Going to the River", slower trad in "Drifting Blues", a harp breakdown with "Fox Chase" and finalizing everything with one more rockin' boogie, "Jivin' Blues".

Basic, raw, and relatively minimalistic, but really well-done acoustic blues. Worth looking for!