Tag Archives: Boogie Woogie

Mitch Woods: A Tip of the Hat to Fats

Paying tribute to Fats Domino at the Jazz & Heritage Festival

It’s hard to imagine a more fitting stage for pianist Mitch Woods and his hand-picked New Orleans Rocket 88’s band than the Jazz & Heritage Festival’s blues tent. Though he was born in Brooklyn, and came of musical age on the West Coast, his New Orleans influences flow through him as he consecrates the stage with jump blues, boogie-woogie and swing. Woods and his musical colleagues are deep in their element, and their element is deep in them, swinging tightly through both original material and covers of Wynonie Harris, Clarence Garlow, Hank Williams, Jackie Brenston & Ike Turner, and as the album’s title signifies, Fats Domino.

Woods opens the set with his own “Solid Gold Cadillac,” with drummer Terence Higgins quickly setting everyone’s toes tapping and the three-piece horn section flexing its muscle. Woods exhorts the audience to acknowledge the band as he rolls out the boogie-woogie piano and sings with infectious joy. The saxes offer both punctuation and hot solos, including a stellar outing by the legendary Roger Lewis on a rousing cover of Hank Williams’ “Jambalaya.” Guitarist John Fohl adds sizzling licks and the rhythm section alternately lays back in second-line grooves and spurs the band forward.

Woods is both studied and artful as he pays tribute to Professor Longhair with the original “Mojo Mambo,” and tips his hat to Fats Domino with the Imperial classics, “Blue Monday” and “Walking to New Orleans.” The audience responds with enthusiastic appreciation throughout the set, and Woods’ song intros add context to the deep dish helping of entertainment. There’s clearly nowhere else that Woods, his band and the audience would rather be than sharing this music with each other; and after listening, you may find yourself booking a ticket to the next gig. [©2019 Hyperbolium]

Mitch Woods’ Home Page

Bill Kirchen: Seeds and Stems

BillKirchen_SeedsAndStemsAce dieselbilly singer-guitarist revisits highlights from his 45 year career

Bill Kirchen’s latest album provides a studio snapshot of his recent UK tour, highlighting much loved songs from the Commander Cody catalog and Kirchin’s solo years. Waxed quickly with his road band in between live dates, the set feels contemporary rather than anthological, and the performances fit together in a way that the original recordings could never be expected to. Kirchen’s originals have stood both the test of time and reinterpretation: the hard-luck “Semi-Truck,” the Merle Haggard-styled “Mama Hated Diesels” and the futuristic “Truck Stop at the End of the World” still pack their original punch, while the Cajun-flavored dieselbilly burner “Womb to the Tomb” is slowed here into a fetching waltz. Kirchen also makes great use of others’ songs, including an appropriately pitiful rendition of the title tune, a thoughtful reading of Dylan’s “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, it Takes a Train to Cry,” and a signature performance of Charlie Ryan’s “Hot Rod Lincoln.” Kirchen remains a standard bearer for a seamless blend of rock ‘n’ roll, country, boogie-woogie and western swing, and his catalog grows more burnished with each passing year. [©2013 Hyperbolium]

Bill Kirchen’s Home Page

Bobby Wayne: Big Guitar

Twangin’ early-60s boogie-woogie from the Northwest

Bobby Wayne remains a rather obscure country and rockabilly guitarist, despite his prolific release schedule in the early ‘60s. Originally from Spokane, Wayne spent time as a youth in California and Atlanta, and it was during this latter stay, as a teenager in 1955, that he picked up the rockabilly style. Returned once again to Spokane, he played the clubs of the Northwest and eventually hooked up with Jerry Dennon and his Jerden record label. Beginning in 1963, Wayne released a string of singles, including a number of instrumentals anthologized on this 1964 LP. He was a talented picker whose twangy tone showed his original grounding in country music, but whose energy and rhythms were heavily indebted to boogie-woogie, as heard on his “Bobby’s Boogie #1.” If you like the twang of Duane Eddy, Carl Perkins or Chet Atkins, you might like to check out Bobby Wayne; for his rockabilly sides (such as “Sally Ann,” featured below), check the Sundazed EP ’55 Spokane Rockabilly. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

Bobby Wayne at the Rockabilly Hall of Fame