Too Slim and the Tail Draggers

Too Slim and the Tail Draggers
Blue Heart

Underworld Records

By Lady K.
June 2014

Blue Heart is down and dirty, kick-ass rockin’ blues (Lady K loves down and dirty, kick-ass rockin’ blues). Too Slim’s guitar and vocals make the music ‘feel’ like rock, but he’s playin’ the blues – and then some.

Tim “Too Slim” Langford - out of Nashville: vocals and guitars (and wrote 9 of the 11 tracks). The Tail Draggers: Tom Hambridge (drums, percussion and background vocals); Bob McNelley (electric guitar); Tommy MacDonald (bass); Reese Wynans (B3); Jimmy Hall (vocals on “Good to See You Smile Again”, and harp on “Blue Heart”).

“Wash My Hands” is an uptempo blues rocker, warning of a decadent life-style: ‘Women, whiskey, and bad cocaine / Dirty ole’ devil left a stain on me.’ He’s washing his hands in the Mighty Mississippi, but ‘this life of sin don’t wash off easy.’ Lady K totally loves Too Slim’s vocals in “Minutes Seem Like Hours”; it’s a sad, slow, sexy love song, with totally insane guitar . . . and the guitar sounds as sad as the vocals. ‘The sky is cryin’ since you went away – minutes seem like hours, hours seem like days.’

David Duncan’s “Shape of Blues to Come” is a guitar/B3 dueling duet. And the up-tempo rocking “Preacher” (by Ross Sherman) is a lush reminder that Too Slim is a master on slide guitar.

One of Lady K’s favorites (and there are more than one) is the title track,“Blue Heart”. It’s Chicago blues, with a lighter sound, and terrific harp from Jimmy Hall. ‘She trust in me with her big blue heart of glass / I feel shaky – a little unsure, hope I got what it takes to keep her heart secure / I been a fool before, but she believes me when I say I’ll never walk out that door’.

The hard-rocking, uptempo “Make It Sound Happy” is all about things going wrong (‘cows loose, fox in the henhouse, doctor says he wants to get paid’), but trying to overcome the bad vibes. ‘Play me that song that I love so much, but make it sound happy so I can lose the blues.’ The track continues with insane guitars, with a driving drum beat. And on track 5, Jimmy Hall jumps in with lead vocals on “Good To See You Smile Again”; he, the B3, and plaintive guitar make for a smooth, soulful, slow blues tune. ‘Too many losses for one person to bear / but you’re a fighter, and girl I knew you’d win.’

“When Whiskey Was My Friend” is another Lady K favorite, an up-tempo rocker, but a mournful saga of lost love – missing both his woman and his whiskey, and lamenting his life sad life: ‘Longin’ for my woman – she gone so long – used to be so easy when whiskey was my friend / If I had some whiskey I’d drink it all / no one to talk to except this dog.’

Here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: Lady K’s favorite track is “If You Broke My Heart”. It’s rock ‘n roll and blues (aka heavenly bliss), with a hammering/slamming guitar and driven staccato drums, and Too Slim’s wild man voice. ‘Why does love feel like pain / Couldn’t stand the pain if you broke my heart.’

“New Years Blues” is slow blues with more wild guitar, about helping out a stranger in need of money and food, after getting over his suspicion that the guy was up to no good. (Seriously, he could have just played guitar for the guy and made him forget he needed anything more.)

Last track on the CD is kind of a rocking spiritual tune that mixes electric and acoustic instrumentation, and imparts a very dramatic and hypnotizing sound. “Angels are Back” has a less rock sound (well, it’s about angels). ‘Angels are back at my door, with a message: leave this world now, let it slip away / Time to come home, they don’t need you round here / You’ll be all right, don’t be afraid, love will surround you.’ And in keeping with the dramatic message, the music sort of just fades away at the end.

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