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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Hezekiah & The House Rockers - Same


With the most interesting instrumentation of any blues trio that's ever existed, quite simply nothing else in the blues sounds like Hezekiah & the Houserockers. Led by Hezekiah Early on drums and harmonica (taped to a vocal mike stand), the trio is filled out by guitarist James Baker's boogie bass-heavy guitar and Leon "Pee Wee" Whitaker on vocals and trombone. With both harp and trombone working as independent soloists, the effect is not unlike listening to a Dixieland jug band masquerading as a Mississippi juke joint blues band. Hezekiah's harp work is firmly grounded in a Sonny Terry country style, while his drumming shows simple, unrelenting drive. The economy of all three players makes for a combined sound that also shows flashes of wind and percussion bands spot-welded to the blues tradition, making for a most unique blend. There are several pieces on here that feature only Early's harp and drumming ("Alabama Bound," "Hezekiah's Boogie," "Harmonica Shuffle," "Whoopin' Blues"), but for all the traditional material, their set list frequently heads into territory that can only be described as surreal, like "Disco Fever," "Do Your Thing" and "Mary Had a Little Lamb," the trio's weird and wonderful attempts at funk. But even when they're tackling old warhorses like "Baby What You Want Me to Do," "When the Saints Go Marching In" and "Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On," their versions stand alone. Whatever blues you might have in your collection, you don't have anything that sounds like this. (Allmusic - Cub Koda)

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