Mac Arnold & Plate Full o' Blues,
Nothin' to Prove
(Plantation, 2006)

Opening up with a goodie, "Blues For You" gives lead vocal and featured musician Mac Arnold a deserving thumbs up. This music gets you moving from the get-go. Arnold's got the rough and ready voice that celebrates the blues and a rhythm that swallows you up.

The beat turns down with "Nothin' to Prove," but it swaggers and screams across the stage. These first two tracks provide over 10 minutes of deep, rolling blues that are right on. "Call Mac Arnold" slows it down, but the gent looks old enough to decide to slow down when he wants to.

"I Don't Know" begins to get a little thinner, more vocal, with a little less rhythm, but it's still good. "(Get On) Back to the County" moves into harmonica land and matches Arnold's country gentlemen image from the jacket cover. Harmonica and piano dance together call up a slow mood.

"Ghetto Blue" has a gorgeous beginning, and it brings back the heavy features in the music and vocals that detonate the first two tracks. A funky little beat joins the gang. Gassy. Likewise on "The Truth."

He mixes it up with some slow soul on "She's So Mean to Me." It's cry, cry, cry, with some special sobbing on the guitar that I'm sure is sincere and it's masterful playing, but 8:55 is just a little too long unless it's the end of a long night and you're latched onto your favorite grab bag on the shadowy dance floor.

Mac Arnold fills the air with his deep vocals and bass; Max Hightower adds harmonica, slide guitar and piano; Austin Brashier calls on guitars and background vocals; Mark McMakin is on bass and offers background vocals; and Mike Whitt beats on the drums. The guys bring it on home on the last cut.

Arnold, at age 24, joined the Muddy Waters Band, and his long music career ranges from playing with John Lee Hooker and working on the set of Soul Train.

There was some difficulty getting the CD to run but it started on the third try. Other than that, all is good. The music is rich, filled with traditional blues sounds. Mac Arnold and his players truly have Nothin' to Prove.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Virginia MacIsaac

25 October 2008

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