Tuesday, August 11, 2015
James Leg- Below the Belt (Alive Records)
I had never heard of this crazy American singer before. This music is really down and dirty, and nasty blues with some gospel thrown in for good measure and most songs have a raw organ as the main instrument. Only 4 out of the 10 tracks feature guitar, with the main feature being James gritty voice, and heavy organ with some tracks with drums, trumpet, bass, saw, harmonica, violin, trombone.. a wide variety of instruments. Dirty South starts things off and is a nsyt sounding garagy organ driven blues track, while Casa de Fuego has this trumpet that gives it a special Mexican feeling. This one reminds me of Mojo Nixon and has a really fun party feel to it with the harmonica leading the way and a chorus of backing singers in the Baptist church tradition! Drink it Away is probably an autobiographical track, and you guessed it, about drinking too much. James plays the Fender Rhodes on this track. (“The cops are all bastards, they won’t leave me alone….”). October 3rd is very much like Tom Waits with stand up bass, drums, organ, voice and a little trombone. Glass Jaw is a very rough, nasty rockin’ blues track with really cool organ. I can’t stop thinkin’ about IT has a really ugly guitar riff and raw vocal. A Forest has a really groovy bass line and James plays a nice organ over the top of this totally different song and one of the longest with a nice solo. Disappearing is one of the only tracks that sounds really happy and cheerful. What More, ends this short record with a full band and including a melancholy French horn! A really cool and diverse record. I more down and dirty version of Tom Waits meets something nasty….. must be a cool live band..