Memphis Grease Records
John Nemeth has an adventurous soul. Originally from Boise, Idaho he convinced his wife to move from their Oakland, California home to Memphis. Nemeth’s soul was always in Memphis, the home of Blues, R n’ B, and Rock n’ Roll. In 2013 he released his eighth album “Memphis Grease”. That album won him the 2014 Blues Music Award for “Soul Blues Artist of The Year” and the 2015 BMA for “Soul Blues Album of The Year”.
For this album Nemeth decided to record with his touring band with whom he has developed a close relationship as they now all live in Memphis. John Nemeth and The Blue Dreamers includes Nemeth, vocals and harmonica; Danny Banks, drums and background vocals; Matthew Wilson, bass, guitar and background vocals; and Johnny Rhodes, guitar and background vocals. The horn section includes Marc Franklin (whose credits include Aretha and B.B. King, trumpet and flugelhorn; and Art Edmaiston, tenor and baritone saxophones. Charles Hodges from the legendary Hi-Rhythm section based out of The Royal Studios in Memphis plays organ. A string section was also added where appropriate. The album was recorded at both The Royal Studios and also at Luther Dickinson’s Zebra Ranch Studio in Coldwater, Mississippi. The album is produced by Dickinson.
Although strongly influenced by Blues; “Nemeth fearlessly crushes all barriers of style and genre with an album of original songs that defies all the usual pigeonholes”.
The horns open “Under The Gun” a topical song about gun violence in our cities. Nemeth is a vocal acrobat as his voice climbs and falls again with just the right amount of tremolo. He has been compared to the best of our soul singers. “S.T.O.N.E.D.” is a hedonistic song about the joys of pot.
“Rainy Day” is a masterpiece with a fabulous horn arrangement also featuring Hodges on the B-3. On the title track, “Feelin’ Freaky”, Nemeth gets into playing horn lines on his harp, perhaps inspired by Franklin.
“You Really Do Want That Woman” is a sequel to “Do You Really Want That Woman” which we first heard on Nemeth’s 2010 Blind Pig recording “Name The Day!”. It’s a groove that has evolved over the years.
“My Sweet Love” is a love song sung by John to his wife. Included is another great horn arrangement. It sounds like it maybe inspired by a song from George Harrison. “Gave Up On You” is a well written tune that is already receiving a great amount of airplay. Hodges and the horn section are fabulous.
“Get Offa Dat Butt” and “I’m Funkin’ Out” are two highly danceable tunes. The former features an extended harp solo.
“Kool Aid Pickle” has got that hip sixties beat and a great narrative. “Life has gone from sweet to sour to wrong”. For some reason I’m reminded of Donovan’s “Mellow Yellow”.
The closer, “Long Black Cadillac”, is a dirge like tune with the lyric “took my baby away”.
Nemeth now settled into the Memphis way of life sounds more relaxed. He is not afraid to embrace good music from wherever it comes. Nemeth is also fronting the best band he has ever worked with. Although he sounds better than ever, one has to wonder, what will he come up with next?
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