The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

24 May 2006

Blues of an advanced degree

Blues albums are like BBQ joints: you get suspicious if they're excessively neat. Of course, you don't want something so sloppy that you start to wonder if maybe you should have put the Department of Health on speed-dial, either.

So the trick is to split the difference, and transplanted Chicago bluesman Shouting Thomas pulls off this trick nicely on his indie CD Innocence, which arrived at my listening station this afternoon. Backed by a solid band, Thomas offers up thirteen tunes, nine of them originals, all of them sung with verve and played with just the right degree of Let It All Hang Out. The best of the lot might be the hard-edged "Been Losing," with a tasty slide guitar (by Thomas) and an evocative harp (by harp legend Sredni Vollmer). Of the covers, the one I liked the best was "You Can't Spend," which turns out to be Muddy Waters' famed "You Can't Lose What You Never Had" with some new words.

Thomas bills himself as "The Professor of the Blues." I'd say he's earned tenure.

Posted at 7:38 PM to Tongue and Groove