I don't think I've ever come across a history of the Hammond organ's place in the blues. A pity, 'cause it's an honourable place indeed, and the mighty B3, equally capable of defiant roar and breathy moan, is ideally suited to the expressive needs of the blues.
Cadillac Joe has been hammering the Hammond for well over thirty years now, and judging by "The Adventures Of," seems to have an innate sense of its place in the blues arsenal.
Joe doesn't so much sing as growl, in a voice that sounds like a million nights and a thousand whiskeys in smoky bars. That might be a limitation were it not for the fact that fully half of the disc's 10 tracks - all originals, near as I can tell - are instrumentals. As it is, and put to limited use, his Tom Waits-like rasp is appealing.
The disc's subtitle reads "featuring Aaron Williams on guitar," and he's a huge presence here, playing with a fluid finesse that belies his youth. Favouring a lean, clean sound, his solos are slinky and sly, bursting with ferocious jabs and explosive flurries. He also displays a mature intelligence in his comping behind Joe's Hammond. I hear a lot of Ronnie Earl in his playing already . . . I think Aaron has a future! Also of note is special guest Bob Corbit on sax; his solos, though sparse, are a highlight. Kent Hamele on bass and Mike Morgenthaler round out the band, both acquitting themselves admirably, the two forming a tight, hard-swinging powerhouse of a rhythm section with punch to spare. Cadillac Joe is as good as I've heard on the Hammond, able to coax just about every nuance from that monster, whether he's wheezing in the background, gurgling underneath it all, or wailing with a magnificent roar as only the B3 can. An occasional turn at the piano adds variety, though I think the Hammond's where he belongs.
A sort of "Texas cool" sound dominates here, lots of shuffles and laid-back jazzy grooves, with Joe and Mr. Williams pushing, challenging each other while the band sits deep in the pocket. It's an uptown, urban sound, just itching for rainy streets, and neon lights seen through wisps of smoke. Production is just right, nice and bright for the brass but with a solid bottom that's nonetheless stays clear and clean. This one's definitely a keeper!
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