All About Jazz

Home » Articles » DVD/Film Reviews

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...

247

Blues On The Moon: Live At The Natural Rhythm Club

Nic Jones By

Sign in to view read count
Byther Smith
Blues On The Moon: Live At The Natural Rhythm Club
Delmark
2008



As with previous Delmark DVDs this one's a document of social history in so far as it catches some musical and social activity in Chicago on a given night. The fact that similar activity happens regularly does nothing to diminish the importance of such events. In fact, as long as music as committed and far outside the commercial mainstream is being documented by equally committed listeners, it can be argued that the human spirit is alive and kicking. It's also a testament as much to a vibrant city as to the indisputable talents of Byther Smith.

Former boxer Smith arguably brings few of his pugilistic skills to his take on the blues, unless the current of hard-assed funk that often underscores his music can be taken as evidence of them. The title track is a case in point, with the audience moving accordingly with the physical music. His rhythm guitar playing on this one is clipped but aggressive, leaving viewers and listeners in no doubt about his sincerity, whilst his lead playing comes on like a mellower Albert King leavened by a dose of Smith's personal brand of economy.

Whilst he's keeping the company of this band, it's clear also that he knows he's found the right musical home. The point's made in no uncertain terms on "If I Misused Someone" which, along with quite a few of Smith's own titles here, offers evidence also of how he manages to find something new to say on even the most time-worn of blues themes.

On the following "Monticello" leader and band offer an object lesson in dynamics, Smith's blue-turning- purple guitar at nice odds with his impassioned singing. Over the course of nearly eight minutes the sense of economy is maintained, and Smith lyrically gives us an insight into the place of his birth.

He sticks his neck out in covering Sonny Boy Williamson's "Don't Start Me To Talkin,'" but any inherent sense of risk is eased by the kind of assured performance that can only come from decades of work. In this case Smith first cut the song back in the early 1960s, so it's not as if his game's been hampered by unfamiliarity with the material.

The Smith commentary that's one of the special features on this disc serves the interest of oral history in much the same way as the main program does that of social history. Taken together they offer an intimate portrait of a bluesman at the top of his game, one keeping the music alive with passion and commitment.


Tracks: Judge Of Honor; If You Love Me; Blues On The Moon; Give Up My Life For You; Hard Times; Your Mama's Crazy; If I Misused Someone; Monticello; So Mean To Me; Rock Me Baby; My Daddy's Mean; Don't Start Me To Talkin.'

Personnel: Byther Smith: vocals, guitar; Anthony Palmer: guitar; Daryl Coutts: keyboards; Greg McDaniel: bass; James Carter: drums.

Production Notes: 71 minutes. Recorded August 17, 2007 at the Natural Rhythm Social Club, Chicago Extras: Byther Smith commentary / interview, Byther Smith discography, trailers for other Delmark DVDs by Tail Dragger, Jimmy Burns, Carey & Lurrie Bell, Little Arthur Duncan, Dave Specter and Mississippi Heat.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read The Moody Blues: Days of Future Passed Live DVD/Film Reviews
The Moody Blues: Days of Future Passed Live
by John Kelman
Published: April 14, 2018
Read Chicago: The Terry Kath Experience DVD/Film Reviews
Chicago: The Terry Kath Experience
by Doug Collette
Published: March 10, 2018
Read The Doors: Live At The Isle of Wight Festival 1970 DVD/Film Reviews
The Doors: Live At The Isle of Wight Festival 1970
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read Van Morrison In Concert DVD/Film Reviews
Van Morrison In Concert
by Doug Collette
Published: February 17, 2018
Read Django: A Film As Much About History and Culture as About A Musical Icon DVD/Film Reviews
Django: A Film As Much About History and Culture as About A...
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 12, 2018
Read Saxophone Colossus Featuring Sonny Rollins: A Film By Robert Mugge DVD/Film Reviews
Saxophone Colossus Featuring Sonny Rollins: A Film By...
by Doug Collette
Published: January 5, 2018
Read "Frank Sinatra: Portrait Of An Album | Sinatra Sings" DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: Portrait Of An Album | Sinatra Sings
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read "The Doors: Live At The Isle of Wight Festival 1970" DVD/Film Reviews The Doors: Live At The Isle of Wight Festival 1970
by Doug Collette
Published: February 24, 2018
Read "The Moody Blues: Days of Future Passed Live" DVD/Film Reviews The Moody Blues: Days of Future Passed Live
by John Kelman
Published: April 14, 2018
Read "Frank Sinatra: Live From Caesar’s Palace | The First 40 Years" DVD/Film Reviews Frank Sinatra: Live From Caesar’s Palace | The First...
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: September 27, 2017
Read "La La Land" DVD/Film Reviews La La Land
by Gareth Thomas
Published: October 17, 2017