Thursday, July 26, 2012

Walking And Talking The Blues reviewed by Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis

Walking And Talking The Blues
Big Shoes
Dolly Sez Woof & Mug-Shot Productions
15 track / 67:09 CD – 90 DVD

Just the name of the band, Scissormen, opens our mind to the fact this CD/DVD, “Big Shoes : Walking and Talking the Blues”, is about to take us to a new world of the blues. The Scissormen Band is made up of Ted Drozdowski on slide guitar, vocals and awesome lyric writing. Sharing the stage with Ted is R.L. Rob Hulsman on drums, percussion and some background vocals. This combination creates a solid base for some real stripped down blues with feeling and meaning. Ted’s list of his main influences for his music includes R. L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Jessie Mae Hemphill and Son House. Check out www.scissormen for complete biography and more info about the band.

The DVD disc of “Big Shoes” takes us on blues road trip to several venues in Indiana and Ohio, including the Slippery Noodle and the Key Palace Theatre. Also included are stops at Ganett Records and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This is all very interesting and of historical value for true blues lovers.

The first show on the DVD is a stop in Red Key Indiana at the Key Palace Theatre. Ted enters from the rear of the room as the blues fans are treated to some slide guitar as he approaches the stage. Rob Hulsman follows up playing some percussion as he heads to his drum set. “Unwanted Man’” is a stripped down solid blues tune with great lyrics. “I’m an unwanted man with no place to call my home, it’s a desperate life I’m living I’m so tired of living alone.” are some of the lyrics to deal with here. I would say that is a real blues story. On this tune Ted gives us real insight into his ability to play a mean slide guitar while venturing into his own version of how the blues should be played now and into the future.

At the Slippery Noodle Ted gives a mini slide guitar workshop that is very interesting as well as entertaining. The style of playing from Ted and Rob with just a guitar and a drum set fills the room with a sound that makes you listen to the words and all the music. Loud and heavy is not the way for the blues to go on this trip. Ted will on several tunes take us into his world of almost psychedelic blues slide guitar. Usually I do not like this direction but Drozdowski has his way of going there while maintaining a true but different blues quality.

I guess that I could go on and on about this DVD from “Big Shoes” just because it is so interesting and entertaining. These two performers bring to us their love of the country blues while giving them a modern twist that keep the blues on the road to the future.

The CD part of this set gives us 15 tracks which contain some tunes not on the DVD. With titles such as “Tupelo”, “Jessie Mae”, “RL Burnside” and “Whiskey and Maryjane”, written by Drozdowski, we know that we are in for an earful of the blues. The tune that tells us a big story is “Big Shoes”. Ted has big shoes of the size 12 and shining purple type. “Somewhere down the road the blues went wrong with ten thousand bands playing the same old songs” Ted states also “When somebody ask me, you got the right to sing the blues? – I say it’s a free country man, I’ll sing anything I feel – I’m a grown ass musician and I feel my own big shoes.” Ted and his music do exactly this.

The Scissormen and their DVD/CD set, “Big Shoes : Walking and Talking the Blues”, make a big statement about keeping the blues alive, being true to the roots while taking steps into the future at the same time. To me this is really a good recording.  Since the DVD/CD has been finish Matt Snow has returned on drums to tour with Ted replacing R.L. Hulsman.

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