Leaning into it with the groove on lock and bristling with authentic feel Downchild’s latest album Can You Hear The Music is a must have for any blues fan worldwide.
No fooling around here folks.
In fact, Mr Downchild and his groove hugging band led by the infectious lead vocals of Chuck Jackson could play this entire album back to front in order and it would be the best blues medicine you had this year.
I dare anyone to find a more killer blues performance than I Need A Woman, or the slow blues of Blue Moon Blues both featuring Chuck Jackson at his passionate vocal best while Donnie Walsh’s guitar solos and fills light the fuse and spark up the band.
If that was not enough, the horn arrangements by Pat Carey welded into Walsh’s ripping harp on Fasten Your Seatbelt just kill.
Elsewhere, the hoodoo organ work of Michael Fonfara and the exquisite slinky lock of drummer Mike Fitzpatrick and bassist Gary Kendall work wonders against Mr Downchild’s harp and guitar solos on Jackson’s own My Mississippi Queen.
To say the latter song would be Tony Joe White approved is an understatement.
One In a Million sports a gospel Staples-esque feel and the title track opens the album swinging and jumping behind the groove of a band that’s still ready to take on all comers.
Can You Hear The Music is the group’s 17th album and easily stands up as one of the band’s career highlights.
To quote Donnie Walsh. “Downchild has always been bigger than the sum of it’s parts and I can’t explain why”
Kudo’s have to go out to engineer L. Stu Young for a clean, punchy mix that begs for repeated listens.
JOHN EMMS is a veteran music journalist, radio host http://emms.podbean.com/ and singer-songwriter with Canada’s blues rockers THE SHAFTMEN……You can check the band’s work here https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/the-worlds-gone-crazy/id673101570