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John Németh – Name The Day!
East Side SlimBy East Side Slim

John Németh – Name The Day!
John Németh – Name The Day! – Blind Pig, 2010

This new CD, the 3rd release by Németh on Blind Pig Records, is very much a soul/R&B influenced album, which seems a logical progression after his last CD (2009’s “Love Me Tonight”, previously reviewed on stlblues.net). Prior to the 3 Blind Pig CDs, John had put together a couple of self-released titles “The Jack of Harps” and “Come And Get It” – which are both fine albums. John’s earlier albums tended toward more traditional blues content, with more R&B and soul influences appearing throughout the Blind Pig releases. Soul and R&B music, along with blues and roots music, seem a natural fit for Németh, as these styles fit the expressiveness and range of John’s vocal gifts well, more so than singing only blues shuffles would allow for (keep in mind that East Side Slim love the shuffle.)

Members of John’s road bands were utilized for the recording of “Name The Day!” The time spent playing music together is evident in the tightness of the band and in their arrangements of these songs. The band members include Bobby Welsh (guitar and piano), Smokey Davis (bass), Nick Fishman (drums), Austin deLone (piano and organ) and Jake Smolowe (organ.) Additional musicians include the horn section of Frank Bailey, Mike Rinta and Jeff Teczon, with background vocals provided by Steve Willis and Ed Earley (both members of Elvin Bishop’s band, with whom Németh works with from time to time.)

The Songs: (songs by John Németh unless otherwise specified)

1. Breakin’ Free
--This tough, horn-driven hard-soul workout rides an adrenaline-charged heartbeat of bass guitar, with Németh throwing down some horn-like lines with his harmonica late in the song. Shades of James Brown’s bands for sure; just substitute a harp for the tenor sax.

2. Name The Day
--The title track for the CD, this one is a feature for John’s voice, which most everyone familiar with his work knows is one of the best in the business. This is quite reminiscent of mid-60’s soul tunes out of Muscle Shoals, and includes plenty of great horn charts and fine playing all around. Nice!

3. Do You Really Want That Woman
--Ah, this one if a killer track; just try and keep yourself from singing along to it – but turn it up loud so that Németh’s voice makes your own sound better. Lyrically, we’ve got a tale of a lonely road-dog musician with a wandering eye, trying to remember that he’s got a good girl waiting on him back home. As a bonus, John lays a few killer harp lines into the mix.

4. Heartbreak With A Hammer
--This cut is the hardest blues on the CD. It’s swinging number, one that puts me very much in mind of Junior Parker’s and Bobby Bland’s work for Duke Records (especially Parker’s.) Nice stinging, biting guitar, plenty of harmonica, and a great ensemble cast of musicians. Listen to this one turned up nice and loud so that you can pick out all the various instrumentation – this is sweet, folks.

5. Tuff Girl
--This song features Németh’s voice and background horns once again, which is always a great idea when Németh is involved as his voice meshes very well with horns. This is a lighter R&B/soul styled tune, maybe along the lines of something that William Bell might have recorded, or something from the Goldwax label out of Memphis.

6. I Said Too Much
--This is a pretty tune, a ballad about the loss of a special girl. When I listen to this I can hear The Pips singing background vocals in my head (they’re not on the song itself.) Bobby Welsh plays some nice Robert Ward-style vibrato-laden guitar solos on the tune, too.

7. Home In Your Heart – (Blackwell, Scott)
--This bluesy-soul number is another tough one from John and the band. This thing oozes Memphis mud and grease, with plenty of Cropper-esque guitar bites and ultra-cool horn charts.

8. Save A Little Love
--This track didn’t grab me at first, but upon each listen it grew on me more and more. I would have loved to have heard Németh play harp in unison with the horns here, adding his harmonica to the horn section (shades of Lee Oskar?). The song itself is a mid-tempo rockin’ soul number with a stop-time rhythmic feel.

9. You Know
--This cut has an early Stevie Wonder Motown feel, with Németh playing a little chromatic harp, at times in the style made famous by Mr. Wonder. Loads of great horn work allows this song to sound very big.

10. Why Not Me
--Oooo, a spine-tingler! It’s a slow ballad anchored by rich B-3 work and mournful horns, providing a bed for the amazing, emotive vocal talents of Németh.

11. Funky Feelin’
--The set closer, it’s a funky track allowing for the featuring of a more substantial sampling of John’s harp skills. In his live shows he plays a lot of harmonica, and samples his back catalog quite substantially. Let’s all hope he keeps on playing harp live and on CD, because John is a very talented musician – his talent is broader than just being a phenomenal singer, and he certainly is that. John is such a fine harp player that he is an endorser of Hohner Harmoicas U.S.A.

The Verdict:

“Name The Day!” is a great time from start to finish, and is another wonderful addition to the catalog of John Németh. Blues fans out there who have limited ranges to their tastes may not enjoy this CD as much as John’s earlier work, but people who are fans of great singers, cool arrangements and of the best of Memphis and Muscle Shoals soul music will absolutely dig this CD. Invite some friends over and turn this CD up as loud as you can; you’ll have a guaranteed good time on your hands. Let’s rate this bad boy…STLBluesometer rating of 4.00 for “Name The Day!” from John Németh.

For more information concerning xxxx, see the following websites:

Lee Howland - aka "East Side Slim"
The STLBluesometer

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