Saturday, January 9, 2010
Delta ROUX - Bad Wind Blown 2000
Delta Roux does not shamelessly ape Stevie Ray Vaughan, does not copy every note of the Muddy Waters songbook, does not play "Mustang Sally," "Stormy Monday" or "The Blues Is Alright."
What Delta Roux does is breathe fresh air into the blues by forging a sound that draws from the Delta, Chicago, Texas and New Orleans.
Delta Roux are from Austin, Texas and consist of Harry Bodine (guitars, slide guitars, National steel) and Mike Milligan (vocals, percussion). Backed by a couple of the city's top bass players and drummers, they now deliver BAD WIND BLOWIN' – a strong debut on which some of the most crackling US blues/roots styles are merged in a fascinating way: Delta blues, New Orleans funk, Louisiana swamp blues and Memphis Deep Soul are all part of the Delta Roux gumbo. And it's all fresh, because Delta Roux has come into this world only a year ago! Their songs are fresh, too. Instead of cooking up another batch of trusty standards, the band relies on the songwriting skills of slideguitar master Harry Bodine, who presents – sometimes co-operating with his partner Mike Milligan – a varied and rich bunch of original tunes based on the blues. Without sticking to the established blues formats too much. And, no keys are pressed on this disc! Just strings, vocal chords and drums are used - that's all.
Many of the stories told about the origins of American music take place along the Mississippi River. Blues, jazz, soul – music cities like New Orleans or Memphis are now places heavy on mythologies of a musical history that has had the power to inspire past generations of players and singers and will continue to do so in the future. A living example of this kind of inspiration is New York guitar-player Harry Bodine, whose passionate love for the sound of Duane Allman (especially the "Live at the Fillmore" and "Layla" albums), later also Anders Osborne, John Mooney, Sonny Landreth as well as New Orleans piano legend Professor Longhair made him quit high school to move down South. In Austin,TX Bodine made a name for himself as an expert on slide guitar. This was also where he met singer and percussion player Mike Milligan – a native Texan and Austin resident with a couple of years on club stages from San Antonio to Seattle as part of his resume. Mike Milligan is a very versatile interpreter with a lot of blues feeling, switching between the rougher style of his idol Otis Redding and the more elegant ways of soul/blues singers like Z.Z. Hill or Junior Medlow. With their soul band Memphis Train the duo Bodine/Milligan tested this newfound collaboration on many Texas stages. And things went very well.
With a self-assurance based on their live success they went on to establish Delta Roux. Almost like a contemporary analogy to the idea of fusing styles from California and the Deep South that was at the heart of the original Little Feat, Delta Roux created a new axis consisting of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, supplanting the mentality of the late Lowell George with a Texas-style down-to-earth attitude. And that's the way BAD WIND BLOWIN' sounds like. A passionate soul/blues voice is connecting with a guitar that is very close to the work of the players already mentioned and further influenced by the likes of Alan Haynes, Chris Duarte or the Nace Brothers. Especially when a classic second line New Orleans groove kicks in on tracks like "Which Way To My Home" or "Bad Wind Blowin'" there should be no holding back for fans of these rootsy styles. But there is acoustic stuff as well in the form of instrumentals that roll from of Harry Bodine's National guitar like sunshine from a Texas sky. Great versatility must be one of Delta Roux's biggest strenghts. And what they present on BAD WIND BLOWIN' is pretty much what their name promises – blues with a difference.
This is a sound thick as the Mississippi mud and yet shimmersing like the mighty river itself. The music of Delta Roux is pretty much irresistable. Great fun, too.
Harry C. Bodine- National Steel, acoustic and electric guitars, slide
Michael Milligan- Lead and backing vocals, percussion
John Main- Bass
Mike Roeder- Bass
Nate Rowe- Bass
Ian Bailey- Drums
John Chipman- Drums
Teri Coté- Drums
Julien D'Imperio- Harmonica
01.Bad Wind Blowin' (Michael Milligan/Harry C. Bodine) 03:21
02.Dirty Shoes (Harry C. Bodine) 04:19
03.Eleven/Eleven (Harry C. Bodine) 02:03
04.Mama Said (Michael Milligan) 05:02
05.I've Been Workin' (Harry C. Bodine) 03:09
06.Shufflin' Shoes (Harry C. Bodine) 03:15
07.Can't Live Without It (Harry C. Bodine) 03:33
08.Been Way Too Long (Michael Milligan/Harry C. Bodine) 04:47
09.Shake That Thing (Harry C. Bodine) 03:12
10.Which Way to My Home (Harry C. Bodine) 05:14
11.Son's House (Harry C. Bodine) 01:53
12.Drop 'Em in the Well (Michael Milligan/Harry C. Bodine) 03:55
13.Walkin' Spell (Michael Milligan/Harry C. Bodine) 05:38