Hard Blue Space
Vizztone Label Group
When JD Taylor, harmonica and vocals, formed “Little Boys Blue” in 1993, he and his partner chose a really cool name. Rice Miller called himself “Little Boy Blue” before renaming himself Sonny Boy Williamson II. I also know of at least two songs with that name; one written by Robert Lockwood Jr. and the other sung by Bobby “Blue” Bland. Anyway it’s an appropriate name for JD as he used to play harp for rockabilly icon Carl Perkins.
If that weren’t enough John Holiday a.k.a. Kid Memphis joins the band on lead guitar. Holiday played Carl Perkins in the 2005 movie “Walk The Line” about Johnny Cash. Coincidence maybe but that’s the way it is in this “Hard Blue Space”. JD and Kid Memphis are joined by Alex Taylor, guitar; Dave Thomas, keyboards; Dave Mallard, bass; and Mark Brooks, drums. Guest guitarists include slide players Andrew White, Brad Webb and Wes Henley. The album was recorded in two Tennessee cities; Jackson and Memphis.
JD has written ten new songs; two of them with Kid Memphis and one with his son Alex. The album is mixed and mastered by Don Srygley who does a fine job of capturing the nuances in JD’s expressive voice. On “Six Foot Down” JD sings “I’m goin’ dig myself a grave, I’m gonna lay right down and die…you know the woman I’d be lovin, oh, she run with another guy…”
Kid Memphis plays the rhythm guitar that sets the groove on “Loving Kind” and clears the way for Alex to take the first solo. “Tell me baby, getting wrong with you, you don’t act nothin’ like you used to do, baby, tell me baby, are you goin’ out your mind, yea, I’m getting lonely pretty girl, you always been the loving kind”. JD’s soulful vocal is a good match for his cryin’ harp.
On “Blues Bug”, “something’ got me down and its spreading all over town”; we get to hear some brilliant harp from JD and some fantastic guitar from Kid Memphis. Thomas’ understated organ in the background adds the finishing touch. We get some more fantastic harp and guitar from them on the title track with recording engineer Wes Henley added on slide; Henley also played with Perkins.
“Morning Train, bring my baby back” and “Cold Inside” are two more well written songs from JD. “Every time I see you, you got nothin’ to say, ‘cause you’re cold inside”. “Might As Well drink my blues away” features Thomas’ on piano.
Thomas’ organ opens “You Got A Mind of Your Own” and it’s another soulful vocal from JD. “If the Blues Start Calling people please don’t pickup the phone” features Alex on lead and Brad Webb (Blind Mississippi Morris) on slide. The closer “Going Back To Memphis” is the perfect way to end this recording.
JD is the fine songwriter, harpist, singer and front man for this band that deserves a lot more exposure and recognition than they seem to be getting. This new album follows on the heels of their highly successful 2016 recording “Tennissippi”. Who could ask for more?