Saturday, June 20, 2020

#450 : James Mathus & His Knockdown Society - Stop and Let the Devil Ride

2020 – Big Legal Mess Records

 By Phillip Smith; June 20, 2020

Jimbo Mathus is one of those artists I have the highest of respect for.  There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind, that his presence in the world of music has made a humongous impact.  On June 5, his entire back catalog was made available on Bandcamp by Big Legal Mess Records.  One of those recordings in particular, is a previous unreleased album called Stop and Let the Devil Ride.  The record dates back to 2001 and was recorded in the period of time he was working with Buddy Guy.  In 2003, there were few copies of the album printed, but not very many, and this never appeared online for purchase.  Self-produced, the album features Mathus on guitar and vocals, Stu Cole on bass, and Nate Stalfa on drums.  Additional guitars provided Dave Spencer and Luther Dickinson, and Patrick “Playboy” Smith appears on keys. 

“Mean Old Line” is a welcoming ferocious rush of heavy electric blues.  Mathus keeps it nice and swampy while Stalfa keeps the beat intense.  His cover of J.J.Barmes’ “How Long” has a spectacular groovy rhythm and is performed with a raw unbridled approach.  The swirling sounds of keys from Smith, adds a warm intoxicating layer of sound to “Love I Miss Loving”.  Originally by Otis Rush, this one is remarkably resurrected by Mathus as an instrumental.  There’s an early Stones vibe on “Dope Sniffing Dog”.  Loaded with rocking guitar riffs, pounding keys, and a sing-a-long hook.  The song is indeed one of my favorites.  I also love the infectiousness of “Blues Jumped a Rabbit.  This blues-soaked delight puts a smile on my face with every listen.  Mathus masterfully delivers slow-cooked blues with a heart-broken abandonment on “Cheap Champagne”.  Staffa takes it to the next level with breakneck speed on title track, “Let the Devil Ride”.  Mathus rips it up with a searing delivery on slide guitar, and Cole absolute cooks on bass.  This one definitely gets the blood flowing.   

Stop and Let the Devil Ride is extraordinary listen.  I’m so glad Jimbo decided to make this material available.  It deserves to be heard.  





For more information about the artist, visit this website : 

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