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29-05-2015, 13:56

Big Jon Atkinson - Back Down South (2015)

Category: Music

Big Jon Atkinson - Back Down South (2015)

Artist: Big Jon Atkinson
Title Of Album: Back Down South
Year Of Release: 2015
Genre: Modern Electric Blues
Label: Bluebeat Music
Format: MP3
Quality: 320 kbps, 44.1 Khz
Total Time: 56:07
Total Size: 142 MB
Covers: Front

01. Back Down South (3:15)
02. Just Movin' (2:54)
03. I'm Blind (3:07)
04. Just One More Shot (3:43)
05. Five Long Years (4:26)
06. Too Late Baby (2:07)
07. Come On Home (2:45)
08. Someday (3:31)
09. Two Headed Woman (3:20)
10. Baby (2:15)
11. Bound For Trouble (4:53)
12. Down This Lonesome Road (5:48)
13. Where'd You Go? (3:20)
14. So All Alone (4:43)
15. Wipe Your Tears (2:56)
16. What Is Wrong With You? (2:58)

The upcoming sophomore release by Big Jon Atkinson is a wonderful step forward for the young man who hails from down south. It was in May of 2014 that the San Diego resident released his debut album Boogie With You Baby. It was reviewed here in BLUES JUNCTION and that recording received my highest recommendation. Back Down South is even better.

The 27 year old has already proved to be a true force to be reckoned with in the world of real blues music. Atkinson is a harmonica player, guitarist, bassist and drummer. He is also a wonderful singer who has the soul and sound of the African-Americans who invented this language several decades ago. His singing never sounds forced or as if he is employing some kind of affectation. It is as real as it gets.

One of the joys in watching the career of Big Jon Atkinson unfold before our ears is how he has adapted to his relatively new home of Southern California. We have heard the results of the best musicians in this part of the state who have beaten a path to his door. In the past few months, Big Jon has expanded his grip on the blues fans of the Golden State and gone north to make music near the Golden Gate. It was at Kid Andersen's Bay Area Greaseland Studios where some of this music was recorded and where some of that area's big blues talent teamed up with Big Jon.

The list of first call musicians on this record is staggering. The record includes drummers Marty Dodson, Malachi Johnson and Martin Winsted, Troy Sandow, Kedar Roy, Kid Andersen and Bill Stuve on bass, pianists Fred Kaplan and Bob Welsh and guitarists Nathan James, Danny Michael and Bob Welsh. Kim Wilson and Bob Corritore take guest slots on harmonica. All of these musicians play along in various combinations on various tunes with the real star of the show, Big Jon. Atkinson is able to rise above these blues heavyweights and make a record that has his own brand, his own voice and vision. He never sounds smothered by these mostly older blues men.

The inclusion of horns via sax men Terry Hanck, Allen Ortiz and Johnny Vaiu add an extra dynamic to the proceedings and broaden the scope of the record to give it an additional added dimension. For his part, Atkinson steps up and plays more guitar on this album than he did in his debut outing. He also even plays drums on a couple of tracks.

Here on the new album, Atkinson also flexes his chops as a songwriter as nine of the sixteen songs on this healthy fifty five minute set are originals. Covers include material by Junior Wells, James Cotton, Robert Nighthawk, Eddie Boyd and Jimmy Nolen.

Back Down South falls under that general category of traditional blues, but here Big Jon shows that can mean a lot of things and proves it by playing in a lot of different styles which fall under that rather large umbrella.

Back Down South is just a stunning record from top to bottom and is an early contender for album of the year. - David Mac

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