Gregg Martinez gets his Mac Daddy Mojeaux on

You must keep an eye out for the self-styled R’n’B/soul/blues/swamp pop artist Gregg Martinez…not only for his latest (twelfth) album, Macdaddy Mojeaux but also to remember that the ‘i’ in Martinez is silent so make sure you address him correctly as Mr MartNez should you meet! This Louisiana born, New Orleans, based frontman, trumpeter and vocalist brings his Delta Kings together for four original and nine covers on the latest slice of swampy goodness completed despite being in the midst of this horrible pandemic. Incidentally, Mac Daddy is a euphemism for something that is very good and Mojeaux obviously, is wordplay for Mojo.

He addresses a Ray Charles song to open the album, and I Believe To My Soul is transformed into a strong vocal led reading with horns aplenty and neat guitar backing and an electric piano solo to fill it out…think more of Donny Hathaway than Ray but it’s still a fresh approach that works. The production is crystal clear and lets you listen to every superb bass and drum inflection too…and they are worth listening to. Gospel fuelled soul courtesy of Don Nix next as the band do a great version of Same Old Blues with the guitar worthy of particular note; especially the solo…wonderful.

You Left The Water Running follows with the Otis Redding version as reference: it is very much Gregg at the helm though as he convinces with every phrase. The sax solo is good although, me being me, I’d have preferred more of that lovely toned guitar. Wildflower started life in the Canadian band Skylark’s hands; transformed from the original into a soulful and emotion drenched song that, again, has some lovely guitar and Hammond that go to show the strength of the composition. This House is a Martinez/Goulas original with a great R’n’B feel. Just listen to the subtle guitar going on in the intro and behind the verses and enjoy some clever, crafted, backing; the pity is that the near solo on the outdo wasn’t extended. Starting All Over Again provides Tony and Gregg the chance to do harmony vocals and share the verses…it works well on this Stax mainstay…not totally my chosen beverage but still a damn good song. Eva Delle has loads to offer blues lovers: a rousing shuffle with horns, piano, accordion and a washboard…and the slide supremo, Sonny Landreth too: what’s not to love? The only thing that would have improved it would have been a half hour shared solo from Sonny and Tony…seriously! Just Stay Gone is a slow, almost lament, song from Tony’s educated pen. It’s emotive and soulful with the whole band supplying the suitable backing to Gregg’s vocals and a short guitar solo that keeps me going back despite it not being my normal kind of selection. Snatching It Back is a neat update of the 1969 Clarence Carter song…the bass is the star for me on this one as it burbles beautifully being all of the others: not forgetting another too short guitar solo before the funky outro. Moonlight And Magnolias is a ballad in every sense; it sounds like many others but the Hammond, piano and guitar lift it for me. Can I Change My Mind puts the funk into the Tyrone Davis song and has a neat sax solo. Don’t Pull Your Love is a Sam and Dave song given a nice twist with the added vocals of Charlene Howard making it even more powerful. The album closes with Gregg, a piano and strings putting a slight edge on the Randy Newman penned Marie. Not a favourite, but you cannot fault the performances.

OK, this isn’t my normal listening fare, but it has plenty to offer fans of many genres; there are blues and soul aplenty all performed with panache by a talented band with a very engaging frontman. Well worth a listen.

Bluesdoodles rating: A Wonderful : and varied album which may not be blues, blues but still has a huge range of talent on offer and if you like soulful blues then give this a listen.

Track Listing
1. I Believe To My Soul
2. Same Old Blues
3. You Left The Water Running
4. Wildflower
5. This House
6. Starting All Over Again
7. Eva Delle
8. Just Stay Gone
9. Snatching It Back
10. Moonlight And Magnolias
11. Can I Change My Mind
12. Don’t Pull Your Love
13. Marie

Musicians
Gregg Martinez: vocals and trumpet
Tony Goulas: guitar and vocals
Gregg Kingston: guitar
James Martinez: guitar
Billy Lawson: guitar
Tony Ardoin: guitar
Sid Daigle: bass
Lee Allen Zeno: bass
Darryl Fontenot: piano
Bryan Perrin: piano
Lawrence Sieberth: piano
Charles Ventre: Hammond B-3 Organ
Ronnie Eades: tenor & alto saxophone
Claude Salles: Trombone
Allan Linker: Trumpet
Tony Daigle: percussion
Tim Courville: Drums

Guests
Sonny Landreth: slide guitar
Rockin’ Dopsie Jr: accordion
Anthony Dopsie: rub board
Charlene Howard: vocals

Gregg Martinez gets his Mac Daddy Mojeaux on

(The iTunes run-on track gave a suitable reminder that there are still new bands worth seeking out…Greybeards are one such band, and their recentish album For The Wilder Minds is a refreshing slice of modern rock.)

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