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Jimbo Mathus - Knockdown South (Knockdown South Records)
Review by Ricardo

Damn, this is good... Seems like this feller Mathus is on to something with his Delta Recording Service ('It don't look like it works, but it do') down there in Clarksdale, Mississippi. 'The crunkest studio' has been putting out some extraordinary sounding records and this one by Jimbo hisself is no exception.

The (sweet, southern) soul of this CD is a dirty-boogie-funk-rockin' stone groove. It's stripped of polish but it's no less sophisticated for all that and it's put together with subtlety and heart. It's got great songs and takes you on a wonky journey down a swamp-boogie/country/blues/rock road that's more than a little reminiscent of 70's era Stones but which also manages to conjure some of the magic of those 60's Southern Soul records too. 'Loose Diamonds' still causes a moistening of my cynical CD reviewers eye every time I hear it.

Mathus' voice is more than up to the job of evoking those those great records of the past too, although he's very definitely his own man - this is no pastiche record - and his playing has a fantastically loose quality which gives this CD much of it's soul. "... he has this cool quirk in his paying - he sounds like he's always on the edge of a mistake. I love it when someone is a great musician, but they have this natural flaw that threatens to take over, but it doesn't" says Buddy Guy, with whom Mathus has recorded and toured.

The last word, though, has to go to Seasick Steve. When I interviewed Steve last month (read it here) I asked him about his old mate Mathus... "He real good... You should see him play. He plays for like, Buddy Guy in front of 10,000 people, then he'll go play for 2 people with the exact same show. Last year, when I played at The Barbican 'It came from Memphis' festival they asked him to come, but he had a gig for $100 down in Florida so he couldn't. Jimbo, he'd play for a skunk on the road if he had the gig booked and a dollar coming. He's a hell of a player man."

He is indeed. Album of the year so far.

Buy it now from CD Baby: