Luck In a Hurry

VizzTone - B001D5F2IG

By Georgetown Fats
August 2010

Visit artist page

Whether on a keyboard pounding out thoughts for Billboard, Rolling Stone, or The Boston Phoenix - or taking a slide to a battered Gibson Guitar - it is safe to say Ted Drozdowski knows how to construct a phrase. Drozdowski on his keyboard has been responsible for introducing his readers to the musicians of the North Mississippi Hill Country. On his Gibson, he powers Scissormen, his two piece electrified alt/juke blues band.

On Scissormen’s 2008 release Luck in a Hurry, on the VizzTone label, Drozdowski and friends meld the sounds of Burnside and Kimbrough with a hard rock energy.

“Tupelo,” the opening track, starts with drummer R.L. Hulsman offering up a Mel Bay-inspired xylophone exercise before Drozdowski builds the dynamics of a Masters Class on finger-picked electric guitar. As the dynamics build between the drum track, the guitar track, and the xylophone, the Scissormen create a tidal wave of sonic enjoyment.

Drozdowski’s vocal work, a sort of semi-nasal tenor, adds to the musical fray. The lyrical content may be unintelligible in some sections, but the melodic line contributes to the counterpoint.

On “Move Baby Move,” Drozdowski teams with drummer Larry Dersch to blend hard rock tone with juke hall raunch to create an inescapable house party vibe. Drozdowski’s blistering glass slide solos only add to the alternative juke joint vibe. With a track such as “Move Baby Move” it is clear how Scissormen have the ability to ignite both the juke joint and the frat house crowds into a heated dancing throng of flesh.

As an homage to a mentor, Scissormen offer up a biographic piece on Junior Kimbrough entitled “Junior’s Blues.” In a very powerful piece, Drozdowski offers up a testimonial to a man who both helped shape a sub-genre and a generation of musicians who were moved by his signature sound. Though it’s not hard to argue with Drozdowski when he sings “no one plays the blues no more the way that Junior done” it is clear if there is an after-life, and a mentor is looking on with appreciation for his protege.

Former Mighty Mighty Bosstone Dicky Barrett lends his trademark grit-tenor to “Whiskey & Mary Jane.” Drozdowski once again teams with drummer R.L. Hulsman and Mark Sullivan on six-string bass, and Bob Thayer on standard four- string bass to create a pulsating sound while Barrett growls out an ode to two staples to the juke joint scene. Not only does the musical vibe lend to Scissormen’s juke joint authenticity but Drozdowski and company somehow transport Barrett back to the days before Chuck Taylor endorsements and MTV airplay.

Though Scissormen are shaped by the blues of the North Mississippi Hill Country Drozdowski and company are not happy to churn out simple reproductions of the “same ol’ same ol’” blues.”

<- back to Features