Artist: Mitch Woods
Album: Jammin' On The High Cs
Label: Vizz Tone
Release Date: 09/18/2015
The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise has become something of an expensive, desirable annual event, like Thanksgiving, State of the Nation Presidential Addresses and Trick or Treating. And also now an integral part of that blues cruise experience, Mitch Woods’ Club 88 Piano Bar sets seem always ready to explode from the nearest pumpkin and cover you in musical adventure. For those, like most of us, who can only dream of a Caribbean blues cruise, Woods has finally relented and produced a very fine live recording capturing the hot, steamy essence of the sets that have become part of his normal, enviable touring life.
Jammin’ On The High Cs features some absolutely crackling tracks with guest fellow-cruisers turning up to join him on-stage and turn up the blues heat to full-blast: Tommy Castro, Coco Montoya, Dwayne Dopsie and Julia Magness all pour their souls into the magic mix. Tracks include covers of John Lee Hooker’s wonderful “Boom Boom,” Cajun/Zydeco standard “Jambalaya” – a torrid squeeze-box and drum driven take – “Wee, Wee Hours” from Chuck Berry with Popa Chubby in full voice, and a superb version of “Tain’t Nobody’s Bizness” with Julia Magness on blistering form, making it almost worth catching this release for her inspired input alone.
Woods is clearly at home here slamming along, covering his keyboard with rousing, clattering blues-sounds that segue, at times unexpectedly, into soft, contemplative moods. Add “Whole Lot Of Shakin’ Goin’ On” – a tingling bit of good ole rock n roll – together with another dozen tracks, and you have a winner.
– Iain Patience