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The Mississippi Hippies|
The Mississippi Hippies
(Big Smoke Records)
Review Date: Oct 2009
by John Taylor
There’s little question that ‘serious’ art lasts longest. And we tend to give greater critical credence to music that delves into life’s dark corners over music suffused with lighthearted humour.
By that standard, the self-titled outing by The Mississippi Hippies may not have much of a shelf life. Pretty much everything here is performed with tongue firmly in cheek, with sly humour and a nod-and-a-wink sense of fun pervading every note.
The thing is, though, that this is quite simply one of the best - and most enjoyable - blues-based discs you’re likely to encounter.
The Hippies – veterans all, led by vocalist John Dickie, with brothers Hugh and Gordie Leggat helping out with songwriting and guitars (the former contributes bass as well) – positively romp through a high-spirited set of originals with equal parts exuberance and superb musicianship.
Yet while the instrumental attack is uniformly excellent – drummer Mike Sloski is one of Canada’s best, and supporting players are as good as it gets – no one takes themselves too seriously. So we get titles like “Rockolater” (pure, balls-to-the-wall rock ‘n’ roll), “Cruisilatin’ Time” and “Sci-Fi Baby,” along with hilarious ditties like “Don’t Touch My Hair” (a classic grinding twelve-bar) and “Luv Pad,” a tune that Family Guy’s Quagmire could easily adopt as his theme song.
Again, everything here is rooted firmly in the blues, though the reckless abandon of rock ‘n’ roll is never far away. Dickie is utterly superb on vocals, alternately howling and growling his way through each tune with joyous aplomb while adding judicious harp on a handful. Norm Brown and Rob Gusevs share keyboard duties (piano and organ), and a killer horn section combines raw power with invariably intriguing arrangements.
So it’s not a ‘serious artistic statement’ that explores the depths of the human condition. But the music’s as good or better than any outing I’ve come across recently, and if anyone offers you more fun on a shiny silver platter, chances are it’s illegal.
This one gets my very highest recommendation … seriously!
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