Friday, March 27, 2015

J.B. Hutto and His Hawks - Hawk Squat

This is another stumble'n'find for me and another Chicago bluesman, also recorded in 1968, this time
tipping his hat to the likes of slide-master Elmore James. The famous Sunnyland Slim joins in on keys and the rest of the combo consists of Maurice McIntyre on tenor sax, Lee Jackson on guitar, Junior Pettis or Dave Myers on bass and Frank Kirkland on drums.

J.B.'s sound is more traditional, late-60's, Chicago blues, with some rough-edged vocals (emotional and powerful, but not the best singer to come out of the town, by a long stretch) and some fine playing. Dig the raw guitar/sax interlude on stuff like "Too Much Pride" and the slippery slide work that spices up many of the tunes.

Of course, Hutto is no mere Elmore copiest, he has his own style and his music covers the gamet of the blues - slow'n'sizzlin', fast'n'swingin' and everything in between. The slide is not a constant feature, but adds cool texture and solos throughout. Some of the tunes will sound familiar - "Hip Skakin'" is a play on "Bare Footin'", "20% Alcohol" is reminiscent of "Big Boss Man", etc. - but all are groovy and fine blues.

Dig this man a lot, but can understand him not being in the top pantheon of bluesmen - just not as charismatic as some, and he also never really got a chance to shine, outside of local Chicago clubs. Fine release.