365 Days of Album Recommendations – Nov 4

Catfish Keith – Mississippi River Blues

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I’ve both known—and known of—Catfish Keith for a long ol’ time, and I consider myself very lucky for that. There was a time in the UK when I felt like I was just chasin’ his tour posters around, tryin’ to keep up.

The point is, Catfish has been doin’ what he does so well for a long time, and he just keeps gettin’ better at it—his latest is the proof.

He has a way of playin’ the guitar that is SO authentic, and yet somehow so … odd. Which is really as it should be, and it’s the hallmark of a true country blues master; that little bit of the strange.

You can hear it on the first track, right away: the extra aggressive bends on the strings, the yodelly warble in the voice; the reconciliation of huckster and hoodoo that sits at the center of everything Catfish does ….

The Whale Swallowed Jonah features some of Catfish’s toughest sounding guitar work yet; Jumpin’ Jack Rabbit finds him at his funkiest and most soulful; and Sleepy-Eyed John is Catfish at his bounciest and folkiest. And that’s all to the good.

But to really get the full flavor, ya gotta check out the slide guitar on Mama Don’t You Sell It, Papa Don’t You Give It Away, and the low-tuned 12-string of Reefer Hound. These are where you really feel the Catfish fix pay off.

All in all, it’s another great record in an already-great career. Check it out, and then start working backwards!


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