Monday, 20 June 2016

"Genuine Houserocking Music" by HOUND DOG TAYLOR & THE HOUSEROCKERS (1993 Alligator CD Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...





"...The Sun Is Shining..."

Before his sad passing in December 1975 - Mississippi's Theodore Roosevelt Taylor (aka 'Hound Dog') dragged his cheap Japanese guitar around clubs with his pals and fellow musical cohorts Brewer Phillips (Second Guitar) and Ted Harvey on Drums and made a ballsy slide-guitar racket akin to Elmore James without the finesse but with all the gutbucket passion. Think Seasick Steve circa the early 70ts and you're there. They'd play two or three hours a night - six nights a week for $45 a night - because they loved it. And man can you tell...

With his band 'The Houserockers' - they cut three albums on the newly formed US independent label Alligator Records in the Seventies - "Hound Dog Taylor And The Houserockers" (October 1971 on Alligator AL 4701), "Natural Boogie" (April 1974 on Alligator AL 4704) and "Beware Of The Dog!" (April 1976 on Alligator AL 4707). And that's where this album comes in.

Culled from those June 1971 and September 1973 sessions for the first two LPs (recorded at Sound Studios in Chicago) - Alligator put together this posthumous album of unreleased tracks "Genuine Houserocking Music" and released it as a vinyl LP in May 1982 on Alligator AL 4727. This October 1993 CD Remaster on Alligator ALCD 4727 (Barcode 045395472728) is a straightforward transfer of that 10-track album - Remastered by TOM COYNE at DMS in New York (35:25 minutes): It plays out as follows...

1. Ain't Got Nobody
2. Gonna Send You Back To Georgia
3. Fender Bender
4. My Baby's Coming Home
5. Blue Guitar
6. The Sun Is Shining
7. Phillips Goes Bananas
8. What'd I Say
9. Kansas City
10. Crossroads

For someone who claimed he 'couldn't play for shit' - Hound Dog Taylor raced up and down those frets with his fingers and slide like he believed he was Stevie Ray Vaughan. I beg to differ with his own humble analysis - this hep cat could play - and wasn't too fussy about delivery neither. The results are raw and real. This is gutsy low-down Mississippi Blues - slashing slide - instrumentals that seem to have made up on the spot - along with covers of perennials like Elmore James' "The Sun Is Shining", Ray Charles' "What I'd Say", the Traditional Blues of "Crossroads" and Leiber/Stoller's 1959 hit for Wilbert Harrison - "Kansas City". The boogie instrumental "Fender Bender" is credited to second guitarist Brewer Phillips, "My Baby’s Coming Home" is co-written by Taylor with Narvel Eatmon (the song was released by Taylor as a US 45 in 1980 on Rooster Records) while the others are Taylor originals. You'd have to say that the slashing slide of "Ain't Got Nobody" and the same on the brilliant "My Baby's Coming Home" are exciting and grungy for all the right reasons. "Blue Guitar" is hard-hitting slow Blues with the second axe of Brewer Phillips distorted while Hound Dog digs into those licks for this cool instrumental (some stunning playing on this cut). And it goes like that...so good.

This was their rejects remember so it's hardly a masterpiece - but I love it. There's just something about the raw rocking nature of this ragbag LP that I dig so much (so Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac in places - Jeremy Spencer's fixation with Elmore James).

Forgotten and overlooked - check out this joyful Bluesman with his House Rocking buddies. And tell Seasick Steve fans the good news...

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