Grady Champion

Back in Mississippi: Live at the 930 Blues Cafe

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Grady Champion proves during this in-performance set of blues offerings that not only does classic material still stand the test of time, but new songs based on old-school precepts with a little updating also deliver the goods. Recorded live at the 930 Blues Cafe in Jackson, MS on July 7, 2007. Champion's revue-style program definitely works well, just like it did for others many decades prior. His harmonica playing certainly reflects past greats like Little Walter, while his singing is on the nasty, filthy sounding, rough and tough side, but it's not vulgar. Standardized themes and life's lessons learned are expressed by this group, featuring Eddie Cotton, Jr. playing guitar, brother Marquis Champion on bass and backup vocals, and with the excellent Calvin Wilson on keyboards. The band faithfully covers several well-known blues tunes like Willie Dixon's "Spoonful" and "I'm Ready," plays the occasional gospel-shaded tune (check out "1-800-Blu-Love"). They're best at stomp-down party band music on a Jimmy Reed medley, or Grady Champion and Eddie Cotton's original "Wine & Women," or the rockin' "You Got Some Explaining to Do," where they lay it all on the line and hold nothing back. While much of this is typical fare, the energy of the band is well above average, attributed to the full house present giving the group inspiration. It's well recorded and played, one of the better live barroom blues recordings in recent memory.

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