Monday, September 15, 2008

Mo' Chikan reviewed by Mark Thompson

Mo' Chikan
Super Chikan
Vizztone Records
12 tracks/60:49

James “Super Chikan” Johnson is a truly unique individual. His guitars are true works of art, crafted by Johnson from gas cans and cigar boxes before being decorated in imaginative designs and color combinations. His music combines common blues riffs with lyrics that reflect Johnson’s life experiences in frank, and often humorous, fashion. He gets support from his regular band, the Fighting Cocks - featuring Daddy Rich on bass, Jameisa “Pinky” Turner on drums and Laura “Lala” Craig on keyboards.

Super Chikan is an adept guitarist, using a variety of effects to keep his sound fresh. “Freddy’s Thang” is a tribute to Freddy King that borrows the famous riff from “Hideaway” that chugs along until Johnson’s guitar unleashes a biting wah-wah workout. He relates the origins of his alter ego on “Crystal Ball Eyes” and gives a comical description of one of his former occupations on “Yard Boy Blues.” Despite the title, “Crying About the Blues”, jumps out at you with energy and hot guitar licks.

There is plenty to like about this recording. Super Chikan has a love of life that injects a joyous spirit into all of his work. Hopefully that spirit will allow him to reach a wider audience.

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