Downchild: I Need A Hat

~ Tuesday, 6 April 2010
40 years in any business is an achievement. In the music business it is a miracle, yet Donny Walsh and his cohorts have been playing their polished big band boogie woogie blues to an eager audience for four decades and show no signs of slowing up. This album is a fitting tribute to what they have achieved with an array of special guests including Memphis Horns legend Wayne Jackson and Elwood Blues himself, Dan Aykroyd. Legend has is that Downchild were the inspiration for Aykroyd and the late John Belushi's seminal Blues Brothers.

The music is blues, not the dirty bar room kind, this is smoother than a pint of Guinness. Fans of BB King and Muddy Waters will feel right at home here. It is an infectious cocktail that has been shaken, stirred and had a cherry put on top. Good time music that comes with a smile as compulsory. The title track is everything that is good about this album. Soul infused horns, hammond battling it out with boogie piano and a generous lashing of sweet bluesy guitar all acting as the support act to Chuck Jackson's whiskey soaked vocals. Somebody Lied slows things down and takes you to a sweaty New Orleans blues club where the house band seem to have been bathing in the smoldering romanticism and danger of the Mississippi, with every note containing a little piece Southern charm that is so effortless that it stirs the soul.

The beauty of this record is that everything flows in perfect harmony and imparts its good time vibe with a nod and a wink, like a trusted old friend you haven't seen for 20 years who pops in to say a hello like it was 10 mins since you last spoke. You don't need to like the blues to get a lot out of this record, just the ability to let your foot tap and have a good time. By the time the instrumental closer El Stew comes around you will be reaching for the start button, perhaps not for the first time.

[][][][][] (5/5)