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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

J.J. Grey & Mofro: This River

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Swamp-rock doesn't come much more swampy or rocky than This River. JJ Grey's sixth studio album with Mofro is named for the St. John's River near Grey's childhood home (Jacksonville, Florida) and stewed in a pressure cooker stocked by Tony Joe White, Stax Records, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Chess Records and other classic country blues and funk.Grey is a multi-faceted musician --a singer and songwriter who also plays (electric and acoustic) guitar, bass and harmonica--and so This River flows in several different streams. “Tame a Wild One" tears a page straight out of the John Mellencamp book of earnest, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

J.J. Grey & Mofro: This River

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Over the last five years, under the tutelage of JJ Grey, Mofro has evolved from a compact little swamp-funk blues band into a full-fledged r&b unit legitimately paying homage to the legacy of its native South. This River continues the evolution in that direction, redolent with all the confidence and authority of its predecessors.The authenticity of “Somebody Else," for instance, is striking as its horns, supplied by saxophonist Art Edmiston and trumpeter Dennis Marion, alternately punch and sway over the ever-so-slight stop and start of the rhythm section of bassist Todd Smallie(long-time staple of The Derek Trucks Band) ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

JJ Grey and Mofro: Brighter Days

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Anyone who's seen JJ Grey and Mofro since 2008 knows how the sparks that fly from their studio recordings catch fire when the band plays live. The audio component of Brighter Days, a combination CD and DVD set, proceeds almost breathlessly as the successive cuts appear at an ardent pace. Recorded in a single night early in 2011, the performance contains three extra numbers on video, but the sequencing of the audio, like the band's last release, Georgia Warhorse (Alligator, 2010), has a logic all its own that renders it a complete document on its own terms. By ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

JJ Grey & Mofro: Georgia Warhorse

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JJ Grey's eleven new tunes for Georgia Warhorse, named for the notoriously resilient Southern lubber grasshopper, reflect and broadcast his love for the rustic Florida backwoods where Grey and his family have lived for generations. Grey not only wrote all the tunes but played just about every instrument, except for the slide guitar that Derek Trucks (like Grey, a Jacksonville native) slices and dices into the closing “Lullaby," and sang all the vocals except for one duet. From start to finish, Grey & Mofro barbeque meaty slabs of steaming hot blues, rock and funk. They cook from ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

JJ Grey & Mofro: Georgia Warhorse

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Recorded in the same studio (Retrophonics) with the same producer (Dan Prothero) as all of JJ Grey & Mofro's previous works, Georgia Warhorse constitutes an overview of the band's whole career. The CD strikes an effective balance between the swampy blues of early albums like Lochloosa (Alligator, 2007) and the authentic R&B/soul music that filled the predecessor to this album Orange Blossoms (Alligator, 2008) The CD sounds like a throwback at first, as it begins with “Diyo Dayo," a slow, deep, rock groove topped off with wailing blues harp. The title song elaborates on that sound with jagged ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

JJ Grey & Mofro: Orange Blossoms

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JJ Grey and Mofro's follow-up to their critically and popularly acclaimed 2007 Alligator debut, Country Ghetto, sounds a little less shocking but no less rocking. It feels as if that first release, in retrospect, was a shout designed by songwriter, producer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Grey to get your attention. Orange Blossoms stretches out into real conversation now that he's got it.

Grey and his ensemble, Mofro, offer one of contemporary music's most authentic blues sounds. Their songs, and the singing and playing that give them life, just sound and feel so very real. Several tunes groove with Mofro's ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

JJ Grey & Mofro: Orange Blossoms

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JJ Grey & Mofro Orange Blossoms Alligator Records 2008

JJ Grey and Mofro's Orange Blossoms is a natural evolution from its predecessor, the ambitious Country Ghetto (Alligator, 2007). Here Grey and his regular road band extract the R&B/soul elements and artfully expand upon them.

The title song is emblematic of the way Grey uses imagery from his Florida heritage as a means to telling a story: “orange blossoms" is a trigger to remembrance as much as a sign of the south. A crisp electric piano interlude presages the entry of horns as a melodramatic ...



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