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Author Topic: Love, Murder and Mosquitos - Red House  (Read 987 times)

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Offline Slack

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Love, Murder and Mosquitos - Red House
« on: November 17, 2011, 06:19:11 PM »
Love, Murder and Mosquitos - Red House
Written by Andrew Mullins

Love, Murder and Mosquitos - Red House RHR CD 172
It's hard to believe it's been five years since Paul Geremia's last record, The Devil's Music. That's too long for a musician of this calibre to go without a release. Finally we have Love, Murder and Mosquitos.

  There's quite a bit of 12-string guitar on this album, with a good eight tracks - almost half the CD - played on that great-sounding twelve he restored. The record is probably more strictly country blues than his previous release - no Ray Charles or Percy Mayfield - although aside from John Hurt's 'Frankie' and Patton's 'Pony Blues' there aren't many songs from the country blues Top 40 (which is just fine with me). Even 'Frankie' is given a rather unusual treatment on 12-string, and 'Pony Blues' features Martin Grosswendt on fiddle to distinguish it from the usual take on this Patton classic, while at the same time recalling Patton's work with Henry Sims.

Participants from the Port Townsend Workshop when Geremia was in attendance a couple years back may remember his take on some of the tunes that appear here. Pink Anderson showed him 'Meet Me in the Bottom,' which opens the record, played on 12-string, and which Paul played at Port Townsend in the 12-string concert he did with Ernie Hawkins. Blind Blake's 'Tootie Blues,' is slightly different from Paul's version that appeared on the Shanachie "Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues" compilation, and it features a nice little break using diminished arpeggios up the neck. George Carter's 'Rising River Blues' is done on twelve again and also features Paul on rack harmonica (which I believe he plays backwards). It's a pretty stunning version of an unusual tune, sounding very fresh. Patton's 'When Your Way Gets Dark,' which he performed at the introductory session at Port Townsend and blew people away with, is one of the highlights of the record here as well, with great slide work way up the neck. Jesse Thomas's 'Another Friend Like Me' is a lesser known tune from the country blues repertoire that gets a much deserved revival, and this version features string bass from Rory McLeod, as does Paul's take Blind Willie McTell's 'Don't Forget It'.

There are only a few original tunes on the record. One is really an update of 'Bully of the Town' ('New Bully of the Town') and is an angry dig at current US anti-terrorist legislation and foreign policy. 'Evil World Blues' is another sort of protest song, this time about homelessness, with some Robert Johnson-like licks. 'Loners' Blues' is more of an old-style folk tune and features clawhammer banjo from Grosswendt.

'This Morning She Was Gone' is a Jim Jackson tune and includes Jim Bennett on mandolin and  McLeod on string bass - it's good time music, with nice mandolin playing, and outshines the original Jackson version. 'Slow Mama Slow' is the Sam Collins song, another underappreciated early bluesman. Played on 12-string with slide here, I find it's a somehow darker take than the slow and steamy original. 'Bad Dream Blues' is the Dave Van Ronk tune in Statesboro Blues style, and Paul's notes to the CD say of the late Van Ronk, "He was my closest friend whose passing leaves a forever void in the world of music and truth." 'Mosquito Moan' is Paul digging into his Blind Lemon Jefferson bag once again and provides the mosquito reference in the odd album title. It's sort of a reprise of Paul's version of 'Booger Rooger Blues'  from The Devil's Music, featuring a similar progression in C and similar Blind Lemon licks. It's of one my favorite Lemon themes so I'm happy to hear more interpretations, and Lemon himself recorded dozens of variations on it. 'Scrapper Scraps' is Scrapper Blackwell material in D played brilliantly - he's really all over this, tossing in parts from 'Kokomo Blues,' 'Back Door Blues' and others. 'I Feel So Good' is the Big Bill Broonzy piece that sometimes goes by 'Ballin' the Jack', an up-tempo tune to close the album.

Geremia is in top form as usual on this record, perhaps a bit more sombre than in the past, but these are more sombre times. He's really exploring the 12-string more than on previous recordings and, along with Alvin Youngblood Hart, pretty much defines the art of 12-string country blues playing. His 6-string playing will make your jaw drop as well, and vocally he's matched the great singing on Devil's Music. You can't really go wrong picking up a new CD from one of the premier interpreters of country blues and this one is highly recommended.

1. Meet Me in the Bottom
2. Pony Blues
3. Tootie Blues
4. Rising River Blues
5. This Morning She Was Gone
6. New Bully of the Town
7. Slow Mama Slow
8. Another Friend Like Me
9. Evil World Blues
10. Mosquito Moan
11. Loners' Blues
12. Don't Forget It
13. Bad Dream Blues
14. When Your Way Gets Dark
15. Frankie
16. Scrapper Scraps
17. Keep a Love Light
18. I Feel So Good
« Last Edit: December 13, 2014, 09:58:20 AM by Slack »


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