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Jimbo Mathus - Old School Hot Wings (219 records)
Review by David Atkinson


Mathus' recipe for Old School Hot Wings is spot on: a mix of originals and traditional blues, rags, gospel and stomps. This is strictly home cooking.
 
Far from being a staid catalogue of forgotten styles, Hot Wings is a wonderful collection of rural acoustic music often drowned out since the invention of the electric guitar and bass. No wailing Stratocasters here; instead we get generous helpings of guitar, mandolin, bull fiddle, violin, tuba, piano, pedal steel, banjo, kazoo, washboard and a even a typewriter.
 
The light-hearted opener, Voice of Pork Chop, sounds like a hobo's paean to 'good eats' and contains the aformetioned kazoo. Ben Dewberry's Final Run opens the door to a saloon where the crooked upright piano jostles with the dobro and by the end of the song you're singing along and raising a glass to the late Dewberry himself. On the way to the hidden Pork Chop Reprise, we get the country-tinged gospel of Old Rugged Cross, the barrelhousing Bullfrog Blues and the splendid No Monkey Business, a debauched tale of illicit good times. Peaches and Torture Blues tell of the delights and strife of lust and love, both with basic yet affecting arrangements. There isn't a duff track here - they're all odd and buck-toothed.
 
There's a looseness to all the tunes on Hot Wings that only comes from the player's intimacy with the music itself and it all being recorded straight. You know there's almost nothing between you and the musicians save for a couple of microphones and the album cover.  I've realised I'm so in love with the vibe of this record that I'
ll overlook any shortcomings they just add to it's charm. It's raw in the sense that nothing has been done to it, as opposed to being intentionally roughed up like a lot of blues records. Like food, if the basic ingredients are good enough to start with then you don't need to do much except deep-fry and enjoy with all the juices. Dig in.

Buy it now from 219 Records: http://219records.com/buynow_jimbo.htm