Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.


JJ Grey & Mofro: Georgia Warhorse

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
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 slide guitar, while "King Hummingbird" is a gorgeous R&B-rooted ballad, set in a sparse arrangement of acoustic guitar and a mix of bass and drums that remains prominent throughout. Grey is no diva by any means: his emotive chanting near the end of the track is the sound of a man caught up in, but nevertheless in control of, his deepest passions.

"The Sweetest Thing" moves at the same deliberate pace as many of the rest of the cuts, but with the inclusion of horns and an alternating vocal by reggae veteran Toots Hibbert, it's a bona fide soul tune. "All" is more of a danceable workout in the Otis Redding mold, with Grey's lead guitar interacting with horns that pump as hard as the rhythm section, while a gritty vocal drives home the point of the declaration within the song title. Adam Scone's pulsing Hammond B3 restates the classic sound and style with emphasis aplenty: Grey sets the tone for his accompanists in his demos and multi-instrumentalism and they obviously pick up on it.

Delving into topical concerns as a songwriter in recent years, Grey knows he can't make an effective statement in song without a provocative musical backing. Thus, with the light arrangement of Art Edmiston on tenor saxophone and Dennis Marion on trumpet, "Gotta Know," clocking in at just over six minutes, still seems to be over shortly after it begins. Similarly, "Hide and Seek," due to the quick syncopation and sharp breakdowns in motion for its duration, ends right after it starts (or at least that how it sounds).

A positivism informs JJ Grey's best material, like the brightly melodic "Beautiful World." The detail within the contrasting lyrical images mirrors the filigreed electric and acoustic guitar work. In much the same way, the interlocking of drums and electric piano turns "Slow Hot & Sweaty" into the sensual workout the title suggests; nothing of prurient interest here, however, as Grey delivers the lyrics as naturally as the band plays the changes, an example of his grasp of the timeless elements of the blues, even more evident on the driving tempo of "The Hottest Spot in Hell."

The guitar of Derek Trucks is at once mesmerizing and mean during "Lullaby," concluding Georgia Warhorse in a fashion perfectly appropriate to the sacred and profane dualities within its music.

Track Listing: Diyo Dayo; King Hummingbird; The Sweetest Thing; All; Georgia Warhorse; Gotta Know; Hide and Seek; Beautiful World; Slow, Hot and Sweaty; The Hottest Spot in Hell; Lullaby.

Personnel: JJ Grey: lead vocals, backing vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, acoustic 6 and 12 string guitar, piano, synthesizer, clavinet, talkbox, harmonica; Anthony Cole: drums; Anthony Farrell: Fender Rhodes electric piano, acoustic piano; Andrew Trube: bass, lap steel, acoustic guitar; Art Edmiston: tenor saxophone; Dennis Marion: trumpet; Adam Scone; Hammond B3 organ; Chris von Sneidorn: percussion.

Title: Georgia Warhorse | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Alligator Records


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Live at Pyatt Hall CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Flying Heart CD/LP/Track Review Flying Heart
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 23, 2018
Read The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow CD/LP/Track Review The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow
by John Sharpe
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Solano Canyon CD/LP/Track Review Solano Canyon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "Kansas City Here I Come" CD/LP/Track Review Kansas City Here I Come
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Circles" CD/LP/Track Review Circles
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Rush" CD/LP/Track Review Rush
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 30, 2017
Read "Day and Night" CD/LP/Track Review Day and Night
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 18, 2017
Read "64:38 Radio Full Liv(f)e" CD/LP/Track Review 64:38 Radio Full Liv(f)e
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "Gold" CD/LP/Track Review Gold
by Jim Olin
Published: January 25, 2017