Mighty Joe Young

Mighty Man

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Young embarked on this album in early 1986, financing it himself, determined to finally complete a project his way. But surgery and the subsequent rehabilitation time needed to repair a pinched nerve in his neck (making him unable to play guitar) shelved the project for many years. Young continued writing and recording, however and with the help of musicians, friends, family and Blind Pig's Jerry Del Giudice, the project reached completion a decade later. Guitarist Will Crosby handles all the solo work here (Young plays on the three tracks that were completed before his accident), and the majority of tracks feature his son on rhythm guitar. With co-producer Willie Henderson and Gene "Daddy G" Barge doing the horn charts, Leo Davis on keyboards, and the rhythm section of veterans Bernard Reed and B.J. Jones, the resulting mixture is, in Young's words, "a different sound." Those familiar with his spate of 45s for Webcor, Atomic H, U.S.A., and Celtex from the mid-1960s will recognize the direct link these sides have to classic period Chicago-style soul-blues. Tracks like "Turning Point," "Got My Mind On My Woman," "Got a Hold on Me," and the ballad "Bring It On" are soul music deluxe with strong blues roots, and if his fiery guitar work had been silenced, the 70-year-old bluesman continued to look forward with this release. Billy Branch makes a guest appearance on "Wishy Washy Woman," perhaps the most straight-ahead thing on here.

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