Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rockin' Johnny Band "Grim Reaper"

(Delmark) Though his awesome guitar chops, crack band, and personal travails certainly qualify Johnny Burgin for genuine bluesman-ship, his imperfect, sometimes mild vocals and wordy lyrics don't quite cut it as throaty, raw, resonant Chicago Blues 101. Which often makes him more compelling than the cookie-cutter veterans he likely wouldn't mind mimicking, but can't. Rockin' Johnny's triumph is that he sounds different, his voice adding vulnerability and fragility to a genre that's about facing woe with bold ruggedness. As a bonus for us, Roctober friends and family help out on this album as well, with Aaron Cohen providing liner notes and James Porter penning a ditty that rhymes "drinking wine," "turpentine," and "Bride of Frankenstein!"