Jimmy Dawkins | Discography | Review |

Tell me baby. Fedora FCD 5032

Jimmy Dawkins: v,g. Frank Goldwasser; g, Rich Kirch: g, John Suhr: organ, Danny Camarena: b, Roger Perry: g, b, kbd, Chris Millar, d.

  1. Tell Me Baby (5.04)
  2. Falling Tears (6.29)
  3. Kotten Field Jump (4.09)
  4. Mean O' Blues (5.41)
  5. Gitar King (4.45)
  6. Mid Nite Boogie (5.38)
  7. Tired Of Krying (4.44)
  8. Bring It Back (4.59)
  9. Rumping 'N' Stomping (6.57)
  10. Hard Life Blues (7.39)
 Blue Ice cover

Review (+++)

On the second album on Fedora I hoped for a tougher and more gritty sound and atmosphere - and overall these goals are accomplished on the new cd. Tell me, baby has a more down to earth feeling than the first Fedora release. The backup band is tighter and plays with more fire. Especially the two rhythm guitarist does a great job, elegantly interweaving their playing. The material is much like a typical Jimmy Dawkins concert. In fact, for the first time on a studio album Jimmy plays the typical Hooker/ Magic Sam boogie he does live. In all songs Jimmy and the band tries to find a groove and feeling as the song goes on - sometimes they succeed and sometimes they fail. Not the best way to do a thoughtful session, but that´s the way Jimmy works. I am a little disappointed with the guitar sound. To get that typical Jimmy Dawkins guitar, the amplifier must be turned way up. Here the guitar is a bit unclear and subdued - if you can use such a term for Jimmy´s guitar playing…. As I listen to it, I sense a real seventies feeling in the songs and productions. This album is a step forward from the first Fedora release, it´s more intense and has a darker feeling, but I can´t really say what I think of it. In some ways I find it more interesting than good. There are some moments of a sad weakness which gets to me and I really can´t explain exactly what it is.

1. Tell me, baby (5.04)
A shuffle with a funky West Side feeling. A mix between Albert Collins and Magic Sam? One of the rhythm guitarists has a nice vibrato. The organ player, John Suhr, takes a solo. Jimmy takes a couple of solos, but I can´t remember anything about them three seconds after he played them. After 5.04 the song is faded out and the album gets a descent start.

2. Falling tears (6.29)
A slower song with a Magic Sam kind of All your love riff. The organ plays some odd sweeping notes in the background. Rather interesting effect. Jimmy´s singing is intense here - almost out of tune and with some weird laughs. Kind of a mini versions of Otis Rush and his primal screams/groanings from the seventies.The guitar is there in the back, filling in with anguished notes - but again nothing special.

3. Kotten Field Jump (4.09)
A Got My Mojo Working shuffle with a nice singing guitar intro. Instrumental. The rhythm guitarists does a great job on this track. Pushing Jimmy without getting in his way.

4. Mean O' Blues (5.41)
Jimmy really tries to deliver on the vocals. The sound is a semi slow shuffle. Kind of heavy and also kind of uninteresting.

5. Gitar King (4.45)
Frank Goldwasser has written this track, the most thought out song on the album. A modern funky blues number where probably Goldwasser himself takes a real ugly solo, when listened to it the first time I choked on my coffee, but now I find it refreshing.

6. Midnight Boogie (5.38)
Here´s the boogie I mentioned above. As far as I can remember without checking it, Jimmy has only recorded a boogie on the live album he shared with Hip Linkchain. As with most Hooker boogies , they are more fun live than on the stereo.

7. Tired of Krying (4.44)
Again Jimmy uses a familiar rhythm as a base, this time it´s a version of Going Down/Everything is going to be alright beat which is the foundation. A nice groove here, the band is smooth here, and I enjoy Jimmy´s guitar. It´s not so much soloing really, more a comment to the beat.

8. Bring it back (4.59)
The guitar here reminds me of Hot Wire 81. Plucking and thumping. As far as song writing goes there is nothing new. It´s a genuine slow blues in the Don´t throw your love on me so strong mould. The best track this far, Jimmy is trying to put as much feeling as he can in both his singing and playing, but somehow he doesn´t reach his goals, something I find highly satisfying. Losing is an interesting and perverse art - but some of us like it….

9. Rumping'n'Stomping (6.57)
A traditional shuffle. Who is that Darren Jimmy shouts about? He did that in on of the other tracks as well. Well, I can´t help from laughing. Jimmy sings he wants to dance, but as in all his songs of dancing and having fun, Jimmy sounds likes he wants to commit suicide or kill someone. The contrast between the bouncy backup, Jimmy´s anguished solo lines and the tormented encouragements to dance and have fun is absurd. In the end Jimmy confesses - He has the Blues! One other fun moment in this song is Goldwassers rhythm guitar in the end which overshadows Jimmy´s solo. Thnak you Mr Goldwasser! The song is chaotic, absurd and a whole lotta fun - at least to my ears.

10. Hard life blues (7.39)
Finally! A minor key blues. The band gives perfect backup, but Jimmy´s guitar is oddly atonal at times, which gives an eerie feeling. Not one of Jimmy´s best songs, but it´s still interesting.


Tommy Jansson