Saturday, November 18, 2006

Watermelon Slim & The Workers

This latest cd offering from Bill “Watermelon Slim” Homans is just what the doctor ordered. This cd gives us great lyrics, awesome slide guitar and great arrangement. The cd was dedicated to Bill’s mother who passed away in May and never got a chance to hear it. I think she would be quite proud. Watermelon Slim & The Workers is put out by the Northern Blues record label. I thank both Watermelon Slim and Northern Blues for the opportunity to hear this great music and present it here.

Watermelon Slim received the Best New Artist Debut nomination at the 2005 W. C. Handy Awards. He has had an active touring schedule in the past two years. He has appeared in the United Kingdom, Italy, Switzerland, Canada as well as the USA.

He opens this cd with Hard Times, a song featuring humorous lyrics and some outstanding slide guitar playing. This is traditional southern country blues with an electric edge. Next is his Dumpster Blues, a song many truck drivers will relate to with it’s tale of an overweight load. We are introduced to some nice harp as well as a great beat. He follows with The Big Joe Williams classic, Baby Please Don’t Go. I was impressed with this cover of a well worn but great tune. Next Slim pays homage to the tale of Robert Johnson in a song he co-wrote with Michael Newberry called Devil’s Cadillac. This is a very well done original of an old tale. The bass and drums provide an excellent background from which to carry this tune. Next is a great song that laments a bad check writing woman titled Check Writing Woman. This song has great arrangement and a great dancing beat, it is sure to be a favorite. Next is Possum Hand written by Ike Lamb. This is a very well done instrumental which gives us a taste of the great harp skills of Watermelon Slim. Set to a lazy beat it turns out to be a great showcase of his talents. The guitar solo is a nice minimalist solo that mates well with the rest of the song. Fred McDowell’s Frisco Line is next and is one of the greatest train songs of all time. I enjoyed this cover very much for its simplicity and style. Ash Tray is next and may be my personal favorite. With its great beat, slide work and lyrics, this should be a hit with blues radio everywhere. Mack Truck is next and provides another great beat to get moving to. Bad Sinner follows and is a great slow shuffle with great lyrics. Folding Money Blues is next and is a neat tune in which Watermelon Slim pours out his complaints to the dead presidents found on the many dollar bill denominations is US circulation. This is a nice solo effort having just Slim and his slide for his accompaniment. A true Delta style song in the old style of the greats of the past. Juke Joint Woman is next and has another good beat. I enjoyed the drums carrying the beat and the piano in the background as he sings of a woman who is clubbing every night. Hard Labor is next and is another slow shuffle type that laments the toll hard labor has on his body. Eau De Boue brings the cd to a close and is a tribute to the greats who came before and a commitment to sing the blues til his time on earth has come to an end.

This is truly one of the best bands so surface recently. A must have cd.

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