Saturday, November 26, 2005

Jimmy Reed's Gone Funky

Jimmy Reed - Over The Hump

Blues legend Jimmy Reed's simple yet infectious boogie rhythm, tooting harmonica and lazy drawl propelled him into immense crossover success with his Vee Jay recordings (1953-1965). After Vee Jay folded, Reed recorded for other labels, including ABC's BluesWay imprint, with significantly diminished success. One reason for Reed's decline was his own alcoholism - even on Reed's hits he sounded pretty drunk - and the other was a pretty poor choice of material, as the latter recordings found the labels experimenting with different styles or production styles (some producers would stack as many as six guitars in the mix).

From all of the post-1965 mess, however, Reed cut several funky blues under the direction of Al Smith. Although Reed's delivery was often sloppy and his harmonica playing somewhat slobbery, the tunes are, at the least, interesting. "Over the Hump" features a groove derived from Sly & The Family Stone's "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" and pretty sharp lyrics.

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