Big Joe And The Dynaflows
All Night Long
(Severn Records CD 009 c.2000)
by Craig Ruskey
Review date: November 2002
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award"|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by The Blues Foundation
Every once in a while a missed nugget drops through the mail-slot here and Big Joe Maher's All Night Long is truly a nugget for those with a taste for solid, swinging, and jumping blues. Fronting his outfit from behind a drum kit, Maher and his varied cast do an incredible job of recalling the thumping styles of Roy Milton, Bobby Bland, Professor Longhair and others. With a voice as smooth as aged bourbon, the title track storms through with rattling guitar from Ivan Applerouth and a chugging horn section blowing the roof off the house while the rocking second-line beat of "Down In Louisiana" may cause those akin to St. Vitus to stumble moving furniture out of the way. As horns lead the charge for the slow and storming "Move It Or Lose It," Applerouth drops in some startling guitar recalling Bobby Bland's exceptional sidemen from a long-passed Duke Records era and everyone bumps along on "It Really Breaks My Heart" with its Roy Milton feel, then for Jimmy Witherspoon's "My Baby's Tops," a bristling groove sets the pace with solid backing and Big Joe's voice booming out front. "The Church Of Your Love" is a brilliant Gospel-like original from Applerouth with soothing vocals from Maher and a cast that sounds like it was shipped in from a Southern Baptist center and the beat rustles back to cruising speed for "Mr. Nick," a blazing jump tune with fat trombone from John Jensen and John Cocuzzi's piano. "Ham Hocks" is a relaxed shuffle with thick organ riding the solid groove and Benjie Porecki sits in for "You Were Always There," a gripping ballad, then Applerouth turns in some sharp, glass-shard Ike Turner whammy-bar hijinx for "One More Time." The Duke Records sound reappears for Bobby Bland's "Honey Bee" and the closer, "Third Class Citizen," is a wonderful slice of humor with Maher telling of the trials and tribulations that come with being a blues player over a gripping shuffle groove. Big Joe Maher's voice is larger than his girth and his band has the relaxed sense to approach the proceedings with the respect of a tradition that sometimes seems lost with the glut of hotshots running amok today. If you prefer your blues with over-the-top showoffs who showboat at every turn, this ain't for you, but if you're more in tune with what's right and righteous, Big Joe And The Dynaflows will be right up your alley!
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