world-class blues from home

Back to the Basics (self-produced)
Mudcat Blues Band

By Michael Campbell

Let's get right to it. These guys have delivered a fine album of original midwestern blues; sweet, hot, and nasty. Producer Tim Krekel demonstrates when and how to contribute (tasty, tasty lead guitar on "Brown Mouse") and give space.

Jim Rosen, with his harmonica playing and his trademark I-just-gargled-broken-glass vocals, and drummer Gene Wickliffe provide the musical and spiritual anchor for teammates Rob Pickett (lead guitar) and Brendan Lewis (on Fender bass).

The keyboard playing on Back to the Basics rounds out the 'Cats sound so well (thanks to Reese Wynans and David Barrickman) that the listener hopes keyboards will be included in the live performances of these songs.

The songwriting fits like a boxing glove: smooth, supple, and capable of smacking your face if you don't pay attention. John Burgard's "Hate To See You Go" is a standout; and when Rosen sings "I'm gonna catch a whole lotta hell" after an evening out on "Shoulda Been Ashamed," you know the man has been there. I think the sleeper hit on this recording is "Way Down South," written and sung by Rob Pickett.

The Mudcat Blues Band joins the Rusty Spoon Blues Band and Curtis and the Kicks in the pantheon of Louisville-based musicians who have produced world-class blues recordings over the last couple of years. I can't seem to get the damn thing off my CD player.

How 'bout them 'Cats?!?