Bad Smitty-Unwired Roots
John Henry Smith Vocals
Tom Hall - National Steel Guitar
liner on this compact disc says it was recorded at Sheldon
Hall in January of 2004. When I closed my eyes and started
listening, I was not in Sheldon Hall. I was someplace down
Chouteau Avenue, sitting in a discarded kitchen chair, eating
chicken and ribs from the Servian Tomboy. Or maybe I was
across the street under the shade tree by Atlas Hardware
passing time and a bottle in a bag! This is the Blues I
was hearing. With Smitty weaving the tales and Arthur and
Tom providing the ride, they were headed for the East Side.
takes the somewhat familiar stories in recognizable places
and brings them to a personal intimacy. Whether he is singing
"bout some dang woman", a place to be go to or
to "get the hell out of", or "just the way
it is!", you know he is speaking first person. Mirroring
personal struggles in his own life, he is able to convince
you that he has been there! Raw or down to earth, you choose!
His vocals reflect it all.
Williams has been playing the harp and Saint Louis for many
years. He brings Delta and Urban Blues styles together and
then separates them at will. Equally skillful at either,
he heats it up for the highs and gives you "like a
lowdown shaky chill" on the lows! Wow! Very accomplished
musician with a soulful interpretation of his instrument!
Hall is described by some an American troubadour. I think
Neil Diamond is a troubadour but he's no Tom Hall. I think
of Tom Hall more as a traveling Blues Minstrel. Some people
may think it's a crock, but I knew Tom Hall when he ran
away from the Orphanage to join the Circus. I don't think
troubadours even go to the Circus. Never mind, that was
along time ago. Tom Hall has been honing his craft here
in Saint Louis since the mid-1970s. Possessing the ability
to be accomplished in many styles, his heart is in the Delta.
This CD is a good example of what is in the man!
combination of these three old Blues Dogs on stage and somebody
having it together enough to record on something other than
a 1 channel mono is a gift for us all. They definitely "slung
what they brung!"
much liked all the tracks. Prove me wrong. You don't have
to play it real loud on the dialogue tracks but you should
give them a good listen, too.
my view from the Left Coast,