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British blues singer-songwriter Ian Siegal may not have been born and breed in the Mississippi’s Hill Country or by the banks of America’s ‘big muddy’ or be the son of someone who was, but doesn’t he make a good fist of sounding like he was! Adding to Siegal’s authentic feel for the area’s brand of blues Candy Store Kid was recorded at Zebra Ranch studio in Coldwater, Mississippi —and so powerful is the connection the listener is whisked there in double-quick time. No passport or baggage tag needed, Ian and The Mississippi Mudbloods do the rest.
As on Siegal’s last album, The Skinny he is aided by North Mississippi All-Star players, Cody and Luther Dickinson alongside entries by Alvin Youngblood Hart who was also on The Skinny record only this time he makes a greater contribution. Plus, you have Garry Burnside (guitar, bass, backing vocals) with backing vocals from Lighnin’ Malcolm, Stefanie Bolton, Sharisse Norman and Shontelle Norman.
Produced by Cody Dickinson the music is tight, and with it loaded with restless rhythm and guitars and fine story songs from Siegal that speak of the Mississippi, life on the road, deep in the bayou country, prison etc. ‘Earlie Grace Jnr’ speaks of how the lead character heads out to California in a stolen Cadillac, and with it featuring great slide and Ian’s best, unshaved lead it is a wonderful example of both, storytelling and controlled, sharp as a tack music at its best.
Mixing the sounds in subtle fashion, Siegal ensures the listener doesn’t start to feel one song is a clone or extension of another as he pitches in the likes of the keyboard, harmony vocals aided ‘Rodeo’. That speaks of survival and of working with his back to the wall and how the will be her first rodeo and his last and of having so many battle scars (in life) and, you know what I could imagine a band sadly no longer with us in its original form, The Texas Tornados doing this one! And Sahm, Meyers etc would be justifiably proud to do so too. So good is the cut.
Of the staple diet tracks (where admittedly, there are a couple that could do with a little more work before they meet the criterion of his best work) you have his version of ‘Bayou Country’ (Bardwell/ Veitch), his own funky ‘Loose Cannon’ and Luther Dickinson co-write ‘Kingfish’ arguably the best track on the record. Although Malcolm’s pounding affair ‘So Much Trouble’ with it’s killer rhythm, slide, harmony vocals and general funky blues feel runs it close. As for the former with slide to the fore (just as I like it) and with Ian sounding like he was sat out on an old wood porch watching nature ‘Kingfish’ sizzles ‘n’ spits like meat cooked on an open grill. Take a bow, my son!
For those wanting to see Ian and The Mississippi Mudbloods they are in the country (and Europe) in November. Playing among other dates Carlisle’s Blues Festival.
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