Monday, July 22, 2013

Secretly Famous reviewed by Harmonica Joe Poluyanskis

Secretly Famous
The Rev Jimmie Bratcher
Ain't Skreet Tunes
12 tracks/41:48

“Secretly Famous” is Rev Jimmy Bratcher's 7th recording to be released. Yes, he is a real preacher when not performing. He does his work by reaching out to those in need and also performs his music for prison inmates. It is always interesting to find out how a blues artist got started in the world of music. At the age of 12 Bratcher decided that he wanted a guitar. His father decided to place an ad in the paper to find him a guitar This ad stated, “will trade 1958 DeSoto for guitar and amp”.This is where it all started as Jimmie ended up with a white Gibson SG Jr and a Gibson amp. On this CD he used this same guitar on 2 tunes, “I Can't Shake That Thing” and “Starting All Over Again”. The Rev is a solid blues rocker who has honed his musical skills and lyric writing to a high level over the years.

The opening tune on “Secretly Famous” is “Jupiter & Mars” which was co-written by Jimmie and his son, Jason. This song is just enough off color to make one why a preacher is doing it. Lyrics such as “blinding light, flash of chrome, hot- head blonde in a tricked out Ford”conjures up visions of this is just not right for a man of the clothe. But, it is all good as he plays the blues. This track introduces the rest of Bratcher's power trio. Along with Jimmie's vocals and mastered guitar style we are treated to Lester Estelle’s drum skills as well as a strong bass line from Craig Kew. Both are very capable players on their own music endeavors. “Check Your Blues at the Door” shuffles along with Jimmie playing solid blues guitar riffs and solos. His lyrics tell a tale of not bringing your toils and troubles into your home but leave them at the door. This is good advice as well as creating a song for the blues.

The Rev performs a solid cover of John D. Loudermilk's “Tobacco Road”. Estelle drives this track along on drums played clear and strong as Jimmie tells the tale with his vocals and guitar. This is another very enjoyable tune for “Secretly Famous”. Taking a more humorous vein is the catching song, “Bologna Man”, which is a story about something that maybe should not be called meat. “I like that meat that rhymes with pony” and “ I ain't too high class to eat that mess” gives you the idea what this is all about. This is a fun song with great vocals.

The Rev Jimmie Bratcher presents a strong picture of the blues with “Secretly Famous whether he is doing a shuffle, slow blues, rock blues or something else. This CD showcases his vocals, guitar playing and lyrics as he is backed up by a strong band that makes it very enjoyable music to listen to. I agree that a preacher can perform the blues and Rev Bratcher has done it. It is two thumbs up for “Secretly Famous”.

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