Unapologetic lesson in rock history makes the best contender for the blues album of 2013.
While many of his peers succumb to apathy induced by age or riches, the KILLING FLOOR operator prefers to play it down ‘n’ dirty, and never more so than on this album, a follow-up to "The Rambunctious Blues Experiment", but much more barebone. With the DIY DNA of the Devil’s dozen tracks on offer made crunchy by the veteran’s approach to drums, which are often mixed frontal to intersperse his sharp riffs, Clarke walks the thin red line between blues and rock ‘n’ roll careening to either side to show that it’s basically the same thing. And what a thing it is!
From the elegantly muscular poise of the title track, that measures the dynamics of electric-cross-acoustic charge, to the twangy runs of another instrumental “Baked Potatoes” and the vibrantly humorous of “15 Ton”, one ton lighter and more tones richer than the chestnut it references, there’s hardly a dull second in the space of two notes, especially when they’re as punky-funky troglodyte as in the unison-driven and raw-voiced “Mojo Go” and equally catchy, though fittingly heavier, social comment that is “Who’s Educating Who?”. If Clarke asks that himself, “Talk” sweats seductively like Freddie King, whereas “Behave Christine Behave” makes a hip-shaking and stereo-stirring wink to Chuck Berry and Stephen King, while the slide-chiming “False Information” roars wildly in the Wind City manner. Yet there’s more poignant question in the exquisite lace of “What If”, written with a late FLOOR pianist Lou Martin in mind and closing this little beast of an album with a lull. Don’t confuse it with apathy, though, it’s just vitality going to bed.
But Mick has something more for those who’d like to stay up: a free download of two tracks from his 2012’s show at Bishops Castle featuring a killer version of Hound Dog Taylor’s “Give Me Back My Wig”.