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Friday, August 9, 2013

Shakedown Records artist: Lightnin Malcolm - Rough Out There - New Release Review

I just received the newest release (September 10, 2013), Rough Out There, by Lightning Malcolm and its really quite interesting. Opening with Workin, Malcolm sticks close to his North Mississippi roots and the sounds of the hill country blues. With a raw attack and melodic slide playing along with the melody of the track, Malcolm captures the essence of this genre. Very cool. On My Life's A Wreck, Malcolm stays with the stripped down simplicity on a uptempo blues rocker. An updated John lee Hooker like chant makes this a top track on the release. Dellareesa has an island feel to it with a happy melody and backing horns. Reality Check digs in with some heavy guitar work before breaking into a reggae romp. Malcolm has a smooth feel for the natural meter of the track. Cool guitar work on this track with whammy and single line soloing make this track particularly effective. So Much Trouble is another really cool blues track with a basic blues guitar drone under the melodic chant. A particularly cool effect on guitar chords sets the track off nicely. Easily one of my favorites. Rough Out There takes a different twist with a hip hop beat and more melodic singing and structure. Not much of a hip hop guy but this is a cool track with solid writing making a strong link to the blues. Took Too Long has the contemporary stripped down blues sound that has become fairly popular with bands like the Stripes and the Keys. This doesn't at all sound like a copy but especially with the effect of his guitar playing and vocals has a real sense of authenticity. Givin You Away is a real straight up country song with no pretense. Really nice and also features cool slide work from Luther Dickinson. Chiefs is a rhythm driven track with tom tom like drumming and crude melodic guitar playing conjuring images of very early America. On Young Woman, Old fashioned Ways, Malcolm keeps the top simple with basic drumming and extended unpolished slide work and an Otis Rush like riff but uses a rock beat to deliver the word. Very cool. Mama, another cool laid back hip hop/reggae style track still oozes blues backed by David McKnight on sax and Mark Oran on trumpet. Stomp Yo Feet, Clap Yo Hands has a real R&B /Gospel feel like Bobby Blues Bland with Luther Dickinson pushing the slide. This is one that's bound to get you on your feet. How Blessed You Are breaks back to a solid hip hop feel. With a little rap blended in, I'm not certain how many cross over fans there are but Malcolm does a really nice job of showing how all of the different phases of music all work together.

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