Album Reviews

The Jimmys

Live from Transylvania at Sighișoara Blues Festival

Artist:     The Jimmys

Album:     Live from Transylvania

Label:     Brown Cow Productions

Release Date:     10/21/2016

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This is the second release from the Wisconsin-based band this year, with their latest studio recording, Hot Dish, issued just this past August. The band includes four live versions of tracks from that album here. The seven piece band features three horns, and is led by keyboardist Jimmy Voegeli, who trades lead vocals with guitarist Perry Weber, who once played in Humbert Sumlin’s band. Although The Jimmys play mostly a style of ’50s R&B, (i.e. Roomful of Blues, Phantom Blues Band) it’s their powerful horn lines and harmonies that set them apart. They have become a favorite on the festival circuit, especially in the Midwest and in Europe, so it seems rather appropriate for them to issue their second live album, which they dedicate to the memory of the late, courageous Candye Kane. Voegeli comments, “We were touched by Candye’s strength and sheer professionalism. She played the night before us at Sighisoara Blues Festival while under duress from the ravages of cancer and treatments. It was her last show of a long European tour and she struggled to even make it up the stairs to the stage. Then put on one F**K of a show! She was so wonderful to us, even though her pain was incredibly evident. Every time we think of that festival, we can’t help but remember Candye Kane and contribution to blues and the human spirit.”

The set begins with the shuffling, jazz-flavored instrumental, “Jacqui Juice,” which gives most of the band members a chance to stretch out soloing. “I Wonder” swings in the vein of Big Joe Turner, as Voegeli takes the lead vocal and the horns sparkle with a gutty trombone solo. “You Say You Will” features Weber, with a deeper, raspier voice than Voegeli, on the lead vocal. “Love Will Find a Way” is straight ahead New Orleans boogie-woogie piano driven. “Lose That Woman,” features Voegeli, as inspired by Ray Charles.

Four of the ten tunes are covers, despite the fact that the band has three writers and performs mostly original material. Weber takes “You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore,” a Memphis rock ‘n’ roll tune written by his friend, Jim Liban, as Voegeli pounds the piano like the Killer. “Cold Women” is from Mack Rice, and features both Weber’s vocals and guitar. “Lonesome Whistle Blues” is a slow blues, beginning with Weber’s T-Bone Walker like guitar and extending to solos from all. The Jimmys close with an irresistible tune from the Band, “Ophelia,” as the horn section handles the New Orleans style charts.

The Jimmys have won countless awards, including a 2016 Blues Blast nomination, and high praise from Tinsley Ellis, Marcia Ball and more. If you haven’t heard this band, and like live albums, this is good place to start. They are a fun listen.

-Jim Hynes

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