Saturday, April 9, 2016

Mac Arnold and Plate Full O’ Blues - Give It Away

2015 – PFOB Music/Plantation #1 Productions
By Phillip Smith; Apr 9, 2016

This new album, Give It Away, from the legendary recording artist Mac Arnold is one big tasty bowl of traditional blues.  Alongside Arnold, is Plate Full O’ Blues, which consists of guitarist/vocalist Austin Brashier, Max Hightower (harmonica, keyboard, bass), and drummer Scotty Hawkins.  This band is the real deal, bringing solid performances to a baker’s dozen of terrific tunes, of which the lion’s share are original.

Arnold breaks out the gas can guitar on a few tracks, and it sounds doggone good.  The first of those, “Don’t Burn My Cornbread” brings a smile to my face each time I hear it.  According to the liner notes, the lyrics to this love song were sparked by an actual dinner time incident.  Things get even more interesting down at Max’s “Uncle Dewitt’s Café”, a popular little juke joint in the country where they would dance all night to a nickel jukebox.  Brashier plays this one very nicely. 

Hightower, harmonica in hand, gets “Damned If I Do” started with a nice dose of blues harp.  This one is slow-cooked Texas style, with hot guitar licks and sweet vocals.   I love the inspirational “Give It Away”.  This title track is so full of soul; one can’t help but resonate with its spirit.  Another song I find fantastic and heartfelt, is “How I Need You”.  Beautifully performed, I wish it was a little longer than two minutes in length.

Mac Arnold and Plate Full O’ Blues also give up a solid and soulful performance on Brook Benton’s “I’ll Take Care of You”, as well as a rollicking rendition of Jerry Reed’s swampy hit single “Amos Moses”.  This album is a treat for the ears and is definitely recommended for the serious blues fan.        

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