All Louisiana natives with acclaimed veteran status, The Hoodoo Kings are: barrelhouse piano man Eddie Bo, harp player Raful Neal, and guitarist Ernest Joseph 'Tabby' Thomas. All three are accomplished vocalists and prove that fact here as well. It's easy to expect then that this platter is much like a bowl of Louisiana gumbo; hot and spicy, yet tasteful. Eddie Bo, the lone New Orleans mate here, brings his boogie piano and organ to play, while Baton Rouge boys Neal and Thomas bring along their best on the harp register and axe neck. Stepping up on the microphone, all three deliver creative responses to a great bunch of tunes.
It all starts with the Sonny Curtis classic "I Fought The Law", and works into diverse elements like Bob Dylan's "If I Don't Be There By Morning" (complete with a soul injection) and the closing Clifton Chenier tune "If I Ever Get Lucky". There's Tabby's "Mean And Evil Woman", "I Am The Hoodoo King", and Raful's "Luberta", "I've Been Mistreated", and "Hard Times". From the sweet singing guitar of "Monkey Business" to the slow soul rendition of "Leave it Like It Is", The Hoodoo Kings have packed this disc with both southern fire and funk.
Backed by local gents Gregg Hoover and Danny Breau on the guitars, Dan Corbett on the bass, and Darren Thiboutot on the skin set; this set bounces from upbeat shuffles, to tell-tale storied ballads, then heads back to tin-pan alley blues. There is no flagrant Louisiana feel on this release. It is however a great southern R & B interpretation sparked with sweet vocal harmonies, beautifying organ and piano, and tender soulful guitar phrasings. Call these modern soul packed blues from Louisianian men of distinction, The Hoodoo Kings!
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This review is copyright © 2001 by Mark A. Cole, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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