JOHNNY BARNES AND THE THIN BLUES LINE – THE WILLIE DIXON TRIBUTE – REVIEW BY A.J. WACHTEL
Review by A.J. Wachtel
Whether you know it or not, Willie Dixon has been a big part of your musical upbringing; either directly or indirectly. If you listened to bands like The Jeff Beck Group, The Rolling Stones, early Led Zep, Muddy, and Howlin’ Wolf; they all covered his songs. And now scene vet Johnny Barnes gets an all-star cast to back him up for his own stellar tribute: including David Maxwell on piano, Sax Gordon on saxophone, James Montgomery on harp, Joe Pet from The Joe Perry Project pounding, and even Jon Butcher playing the sizzling lead on “Hootchie Cootchie Man.” Barnes has a lot of fun recording this music; and it shows.
The opening recording, “I Am the Blues” starts off with a blazing guitar intro that sets the tone for the rest of the CD. Growling guitar and raspy vocals surrounded by the best internationally known blues piano, harp, and sax artists around. A great formula that results in a great listen. My favorite cuts are the hard edged “I Just Want to Make Love to You” and the romping “I’m Ready.” The bar-room blues feel of “Back Door Man,” “You Shook Me,” and “Let Me Love You, Baby” really knocks me out too. Saving the best for last, “Little Red Rooster” is a great slide version that the master himself would be proud of. Play this CD LOUD.