Many people say that music is cathartic; perhaps it was a good way to process hard times for New Orleans bluesman J. Monque'D. The year 2000 saw both his release from prison as well as that of his two new CDs. On them, he alludes to serving time for stalking his ex-wife in an apparent dispute over custody of their daughter. The musician turned adversity into art with After the Beep and this CD, entitled Chitlin Eating Music. All songs on the album come from the pen of Monque'D and reflect his personal experience, growing up poor and of mixed heritage in western Louisiana, and the hard knocks that life has brought in the ensuing decades. The title cut is a typical blend of the musician's talent on the harmonica along with the humor and determination to make the best blues out of hard times. "Got a Lotta Blues," "My Home Is a Prison," "Rough and Rocky Road," and "Laid My Burden Down" also serve to illustrate this point. The blues harpist is joined on the record by musical colleagues Robert Harris on trombone; Lenny McDaniel on organ, piano, and guitar; Alfred "Uganda" Roberts on conga and tambourine; Darryl Adams on alto saxophone; and Michael Ward on violin. Together, they make an interesting sound on selections such as "Trieste Jockey Blues," "Canary on My Shoulder," "Goin' to Tabby's," and "Ciao Leonardo." The tune "Whiz Bang" received national airplay, bringing some well-deserved attention to one of Louisiana's best-respected musical secrets.
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AllMusic Review by Rose of Sharon Witmer