Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

154

Mighty Mo Rodgers: Blues Is My Wailin' Wall

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
Mighty Mo Rodgers has a rough but limber singing voice that commands attention. His metaphorical lyrics reveal a strong passion for history and social issues. Unfortunately, the instrumentation on this major-label debut isn't nearly as intriguing as the vocals.

Rodgers is a singer-keyboardist who made his mark in the '60s playing with Brenton Wood, T-Bone Walker, Bobby "Blue" Bland and Albert Collins. On Wailin' Wall, the 55-year-old Los Angeles native favors a minimalist drum-centered sound that's as much R&B as blues.

It's tempting to recommend the album based on one track alone — the African-influenced "Took Away The Drum." This is a very dramatic chant-like number, and its title refers to the slave masters' prohibition of African-style drumming. Unfortunately, the rest of the songs are either instrumentally facile ("Sweet Soul Music"), overproduced ("Shame!") or more poems than songs ("Tuskegee Blues").

"The Kennedy Song" seems to put down conspiracy theorists and New Age nuts, but Rodgers' lyrics are so cryptic it's impossible to decipher his real message. Even when his lyrics are effective, as on "Tuskegee Blues," his band seems uninspired. It could be the leader was holding them back in order to experiment with an airy soul-blues soundscape. There's an awful lot of atmosphere to this recording, but it makes for a murky listen. Whatever Rodgers' intention, his minimalist approach generates one great song and 10 mediocre ones. Too bad, because Rodgers has a powerful voice, a strong social conscience, and a way with words. Maybe he should concede the producing to someone else.

Rating ** 1/2 (out of ****)

Tracks:Blues Is My Wailin' Wall; Took Away the Drum; Heaven's Got the Blues; No Regrets; Tuskegee Blues; No Dough; Kennedy Song; (Bring Back) Sweet Soul Music; Willie B. And Me; Gone Fishin'; Shame!

Players:Mighty Mo Rodgers (Piano, Accordion, Keyboards, Vocals, Kalimba); Chirs Walsh (Guitar); Albie Burks (Bass); Burleigh Drummond (Drums); Tim Pierce (Guitar); Rasheed Ali (Percussion); George James (Percussion)David L. Woodford (Sax); Kenny Walker (Sax); Michael Murphy (B-3); Harold Bennett (Tenor Sax); Steve F'dor (piano); Vic Shoemaker (harmonica); Jim Gibson (guitar)

Title: Blues Is My Wailin' Wall | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Blue Thumb Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
May24Fri
Baba Sissoko, Mighty Mo Rodgers
Moods
Zurich, Switzerland

Related Articles

Read Day to Day Album Reviews
Day to Day
By Paul Naser
May 24, 2019
Read Theia Album Reviews
Theia
By Jim Worsley
May 24, 2019
Read Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You Album Reviews
Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You
By Dan McClenaghan
May 24, 2019
Read Nexus Album Reviews
Nexus
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 23, 2019
Read The Second Coming Album Reviews
The Second Coming
By Daniel Barbiero
May 23, 2019
Read Luminária Album Reviews
Luminária
By John Sharpe
May 23, 2019