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)

| Record Label: Blue Thumb Records | Style: Blues


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Duke Robillard Duke Robillard
guitar, electric
Jimmy Thackery Jimmy Thackery
guitar, electric
Deborah Coleman Deborah Coleman
guitar, electric
Joe Louis Walker Joe Louis Walker
guitar, electric
Corey Harris Corey Harris
guitar
Ronnie Earl Ronnie Earl
guitar, electric
Jimmy McCracklin Jimmy McCracklin
vocalist
John Mooney John Mooney
guitar
Bob Margolin Bob Margolin
guitar, electric

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Revelation" CD/LP/Track Review Revelation
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 16, 2016
Read "Twin Talk" CD/LP/Track Review Twin Talk
by Mark F. Turner
Published: September 19, 2016
Read "Christmastime in New Orleans" CD/LP/Track Review Christmastime in New Orleans
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: December 11, 2016
Read "Live in Sant'Anna Arresi 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Sant'Anna Arresi 2004
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "April" CD/LP/Track Review April
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Hush Point III" CD/LP/Track Review Hush Point III
by Budd Kopman
Published: January 8, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!