Old Gray Mule

Old Gray Mule
Like A Apple On A Tree

Self Release

By Georgetown Fats
January 2013

Like most of my plans it started innocently enough, with me not putting a lot of thought into a big decision. Having authored a music column in college, the idea of hippin’ people to great music they have not had a chance to listen to otherwise has always been exciting. Drafting the review for Old Gray Mule’s Sound Like Somethin Fell off the House was about as free and easy a piece as I have ever had the experience of writing. It was just as easy as locking into C.R. Humphrey’s guitar creating a cotton patch boogie groove and the words just danced down from my mind to my fingers on the keyboard.

While both the A Day in Mississippi, A night in Texas and 40 Nickels for a Bag of Chips are both just as good if not better than Sound Like Somethin Fell off the House, I never envisioned how the increased workload with the Boston Blues Society would require me to assign these disks rather than handle them myself. I don’t really share well.

Having seen the posts about Like A Apple On A Tree being dedicated to T-Model Ford and featuring such talents as Lightening Malcolm, Cedric Burnside and CW Ayon, I made sure to squirrel this nut away until I had a chance to do some writing myself, and I am glad I did.

Opening with “Come On In,” the RL Burnside classic, Humphrey makes it readily apparent that though he may be Texas born and bred, his guitar groove speaks fluent North Mississippi Hill Country. Having Cedric, RL’s grandson, provide both drum and vocal tracks helps round out this fitting tribute worthy of bringing future generations to Burnside’s music.

“Cotton Patch Disco” features both Lightnin Malcolm on drums and Snooks La Vie on harmonica and cheerleading (assumed to be the spoken word vocal track rather than studio shenanigans) around Humphrey’s guitar work. Though as a card-carrying male “Masshole” I am not allowed to dance, the irresistible danceable feel to “Cotton Patch Disco” makes me seriously reevaluate the unwritten rules and restrictions of my geographically based heritage.

With part-time contributor and fellow road warrior CW Ayon of CW Ayon-One Man Band providing drums and vocals for Old Gray Mule’s version of the Sleepy John Estes’ standard “Someday Baby,” the duo provides a fantastic blueprint that not nearly enough blues bands follow. It is absolutely OK to cover previously released material, but it isn’t good enough just to cover it. With the right amount of practice any musician can reproduce a cover song; few have the skill to make that song their own.

If you’re interested in the Mississippi Cotton Patch via Texas boogie be sure to check out www.reverbnation.com/oldgraymule or www.facebook.com/pages/Old-Gray-Mule/209707362029. In this Festivus season be sure to buy several copies of Old Gray Mule’s entire catalog and give them as gifts. Though the dancing inspired by Old Gray Mule’s Mississippi Cotton Patch via Texas boogie will surely place you firmly on the fat guy in the red suit’s ‘naughty list’, the fat guy in the red suit has some obvious skeletons in his closet too.




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