John Mooney

All I Want

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One of the few blues guitarists to forge a unique style, John Mooney continues to refine his Delta blues/New Orleans second-line approach on this excellent follow-up to 2000's Gone to Hell comeback. Whether digging into the Delta on an acoustic version of Willie Brown's "Future Blues," or giving his funky slide a sizzling workout on the appropriately titled "Feel Like Hollerin'," Mooney attacks these songs with an electric ferocity that nearly slashes the speakers. His sparse backing rhythm section, including longtime bassist Jeff Sarli and especially percussionist Alfred "Uganda" Roberts, provides a solid bedrock for Mooney to blast off. Sticking predominantly with slide, which is his forte, Mooney can be light and playful, as on the finger-popping "Tell Me Who," or nearly demonic, like his cover of mentor Son House's "Son's Blues." When he howls "Lord have mercy on my wicked soul," he sounds like he means it and is not merely mouthing words sung countless times in the past. A respectable cover of Mississippi Fred McDowell's chestnut "You Got to Move" doesn't add much to either the original or even the Stones' version, but a rollicking ride through Professor Longhair's "Hey Little Girl" is alone worth the price of the album, as Mooney rips off lightning runs, slicing into the song with an incisive combination of lecherous, playful, and muscular riffs. Mooney tips the balance of his style here to the New Orleans licks that provide the album's most exhilarating moments. But between his acoustic Delta roots, gruff yet expressive voice, and blistering guitar work, this is a perfect example of a confident bluesman who has established his direction and is working at the peak of his powers.

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