|On The Road To Memphis, Jim Potts
Recorded at Sun Studios, 2004
Jim Potts is from the South West of England. Born in Bristol, he grew up in Somerset listening to 1950s rockabilly and rhythm 'n' blues, but early on developed a love of the basic, deep Mississippi Delta and early Sun Memphis blues, as well as Chess-style Chicago blues and the blues-based country music of Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams and Carl Perkins. As a student he made a film which featured an orginal blues soundtrack by John Lee hooker, whom Jim had got to know. He also wrote articles on blues (after meeting Howlin' Wolf and others).
Jim has spent his career working overseas, involved in the cultural exchanges and media fields, in Africa, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Australia and Sweden. In Australia he had his own blues radio programme. He now lives in Greece, and writes on the blues, rockabilly and world music for the UK's Music Maker magazine (designed for independent musicians and songwriters).
His book of poetry and prose, "Corfu Blues" (Ars Interpres Publishers, Stockholm and New York) is published March 2006. In Sweden he was a friend of Phil Trigwell and loved the music of Wildfire Willie and Louise Hoffsten (rockabilly and blues respectively). Jim has produced short films and television programmes in the course of his career, in addition to books and CDs.
When I first put this CD in the player, it was not quite what I had expected. Jim is a big Sun Records fan, and the album was recorded at the Sun Studios in Memphis, so obviously I expected to hear a Sun sound. It's not that I was disappointed, because this album is pretty good if you're in the mood, I just had to adjust my expectations. The opening John Lee Hooker song "The Hobo" can be compared to Hooker's basic work, like on his album "Moanin' Blues", which was actually the first J.L. Hooker album I ever bought, and ever since that I called this kinda blues "Moanin' Blues". Moanin' vocals and electric guitar and nothing more. Jim Potts does a pretty good interpretation, but of course Hooker's style is difficult to match.
Vocals & electric guitar and an occasional harmonica, all played by Jim himself, summs it all up on this platter. Even though Jim also included Carl Perkins' "Movie Magg", this is mainly a blues album. So this is actually music to listen to at home, late at night with a bottle of whiskey, it's definitely not dance floor music. Jim includes tracks from his favorite legends such as Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Junior Parker, Arthur Crudup, Rosco Gordon and he plays them all "moanin' blues style". Not bad at all, but you'll have to take off your leathers and drapes.
Jim is currently finalizing his second CD, "Death Valley Blues" which includes versions of blues-based rockabilly classics like "Deep Elem Blues".
The Hobo / Mystery Train / How Many More Years / 3 O'Clock Blues / I Can't Be Satisfied / That's All Right Mama / No More Doggin' / Movie Magg / Rockin' Chair Money / It Took 50 Years In The Making, That Rock 'n' Roll
P.O. Box 380
Reviewed by The BlackCat, 2006
Additional information by Jim Potts