Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Need a Hat reviewed by Harmonica Joe

I Need a Hat
True North Records
11 Tracks/45.7 Minutes

Donnie Walsh has been known as Downchild since he formed The Downchild Blues Band in 1969. The band changed its name to Downchild in the 1980's. Over the years Downchild has released 16 recordings. "I Need A Hat" is the latest and a fine one it is!

Many changes have been made in the band over the years. The great songwriters and performers James Cotton and Jimmie Reed influenced Don Walsh, the bands leader. Walsh is an outstanding guitarist, harmonica player, vocalist as well as a songwriter. He brings some great lyrics to the tunes he does write.

Downchild has surrounded himself with a really outstanding band. Chuck Jackson has been the main vocalist for the past 13 years. On the saxophones is Pat Carey wailing away, Michael Fonfara plunking the keys on the piano and organ, Gary Kendal on bass and Mike Fitzpatrick on drums. This combination produces on fine full band sound for us to enjoy. This is good stuff. You can check them all out at www.downchild.com.

The title song, "I Need A Hat", written by Mr Downchild is a neat little tune with catchy lyrics. "To be a star you need a hat", is a great line, but I do not think that this fits Don Walsh. He is really a fine blues star. This tune with Walsh's guitar licks and Chuck Jackson vocals makes this tune really work for us.

"You Don't Love Me" is a tune for all you harmonica lovers out there. It features Dan Aykroyd on a really good harp solo as a guest player. Downchild also adds his harp playing on the tune. Also featured on this track is Colin Linder with an awesome guitar solo. Here again we have Chuck Jackson's outstanding blues vocals.

Down Walsh's slide guitar skills are showcased on a couple tunes on the CD. For you slide guitar fans check out "Rendezvous". This is an upbeat blues tune with plenty of slide work by Mr Downchild.There is a whole bunch of good stuff going on in this tune including the piano work by Michael Fonfara.

Of the 11 tracks on Downchild's new CD, "I Need A Hat", I cannot pick a favorite or one that I do not care for. This is a great CD filled with blues tunes done really well Good job by the Downchild Band. Downchild Band is a very accomplished band with it's own fat bluestone. The saxophone, trumpet and three people on harp really add to this sound. The lyrics of Don Walsh and Chuck Johnson make this a CD that you cannot go wrong with. This is a keeper.

Reviewed by Harmonica Joe

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