Ian Siegal & the Youngest Sons,
The Skinny
(Nugene, 2011)

British blues singer and guitarist Ian Siegal came to Mississippi to record this album, and he used the offspring of the area's finest musicians as a backing band. On the disc are Cody Dickinson, the son of legendary producer Jim Dickinson, Garry Burnside, son of R.L., Robert Kimbrough, son of Junior, and Rodd Bland, son of Bobby "Blue."

The music on The Skinny is all North Mississippi and Delta blues, played by the sons of the music's finest musicians, all of whom are pretty accomplished in their own right. They can cook; their ensemble playing is tight, their solos soar, and Siegal fits right in. Most of the tunes recreate the sound and approach of the previous generations of bluesmen; listening, you hear echoes of Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf and the others, which brings up both the strength and the weakness of the album. They play the old-fashioned stuff well, but it all sounds a little too old-fashioned; it's as though you've been listening to it all your life and the comfortable grooves are just a little too familiar.

In "Devil's in the Details," the band plays their version of a traditional fife and drum song, which breaks the mood and brings a sense of the life to the disc.

If you want to hear new material in the old tradition, lovingly recreated, then this one is for you. If, however, you want to hear a new and different approach, The Skinny might not fully satisfy.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

28 January 2012

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