Album: Who U Tellin’?
Label: Electro-Fi Records
At 75 years of age, Harrison Kennedy certainly carries a considerable pedigree in Blues music through a long and varied career, winning accolades and awards including the 2016 Juno Award ‘ Blues Album of the Year ’. Living Blues magazine describes him as a ‘ Modern Blues master of true substance ’. Listening to his new album, it doesn’t take long to realize why such words were written.
Who U Tellin’? comprises twelve finely crafted originals and one cover ‘ Patches ’, originally recorded by Kennedy’s band Chairman of the Board, and then made into a hit by Clarence Carter in 1970. Kennedy is a very fine songwriter, and the musicians on this album provide him with superb backing, and his harmonica playing is fabulous.
The title track launches the listener straight into the type of true roots blues you expect, almost raw and a little rough with powerhouse vocals from Kennedy that drive the music forward towards the next track, ‘ Afraid to Fail ’ with some great foot stomping music with slide guitar surrounding the lyrics ‘ Some folks know poverty, and everything that comes with it, not a chance to win life’s lottery, when you can’t afford the ticket ’.
The song writing is insightful, ‘ Hurry, hurry time is on your side, love or hating is for you to decide, divide and conquer it’s such an evil game, brother against brother it’s such a crying shame ’. Lightweight it isn’t, because this is true Blues delivering a powerful message with music that carries that message will a strong impetus, and Kennedy has been around a long time and has seen a lot of life, including a successful battle against cancer.
‘ Mountain Stomp ’ is almost bluegrass in flavour with fiddle and spoons in full flow. ‘ Long Pants ’ is a great boogie-woogie track with bass and piano pounding along with Kennedy’s vocals hitting the high spots. ‘ Takin it Back ’ is raw, basic and almost with spoken lyrics, but just brilliantly put over.
A very fine album that will grace the collection of anyone who is a fan of the genre, and a superb introduction to real roots Blues for folks who are yet to fall under its’ spell.