Any album that starts with a Hammond B3 organ intro has my attention. One that then integrates some Big Easy style harmonica is just plain badass.The new Jason Ricci and Joe Krown collaboration, City Country City on Gulf Coast Records, starts just that way with the title cut and is infused throughout with the rhythms of a bluesy fall day in the French Quarter roamin’ down Royal Street and then perhaps eating beignets out by the mighty Mississippi in New Orleans.
Jason has long been considered one of the premier harmonica players of the blues genre and Joe Krown, an established piano and organ player in New Orleans, is also a member of the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. Together with monster drummer Doug Belote, they lay down a sound that reflects the city in which they all reside. In parts funky and soul infused, the recording is a very enjoyable listen.
Besides the title cut, I also enjoyed the instrumentals Down n’ Dirty, My Mama Told Me So, It Starts with Me, and Upshot. I was particularly impressed with their reinterpretation of the Bobby Gentry classic Ode to Billy Joe as a blues funk instrumental. Jason’s work on the harmonica on the song takes the tune to a whole new level.
On Badger the Witness, Jason and Joe channel Doctor John to perfection. Feel Good Funk is just that and my favorite song on the album is Down At the Juke. It’s just a perfect “down the bayou” tune reflective of some places I used to frequent while growing up and working in southern Louisiana. If you enjoy the low down blues, you won’t find much better than the trio’s rendition of Charles Brown’s Drifting Blues with Joe’s haunting organ setting just the right vibe and counterpoint to some sweet harmonica playing. Listening to Jason on this song will help you to understand why blues music lovers rave about his talent. I also enjoyed their cover of Sonny Boy Williamson’s Just a Playboy with Joe pounding those ivories.
The textures and rhythms of this album embody the city of New Orleans and are reflective of the powerhouse talents of Jason, Joe, and Doug. Though they all have busy schedules with other bands, it is my hope that they will carve out some time to tour a bit together. I think people world wide would enjoy some of their Big Easy blues.
Ricci Krown – City Country City (Gulf Coast Records 2021)
Ben Vee started out spinning songs on terrestrial radio and at nightclubs back in the 1970’s in his home state of Louisiana. After a career in the construction business, he returned to DJing in 2011. He now hosts two shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and writes about the blues at http://www.benveeblues.com from his home in Connecticut. He also has a 24 hour stream devoted to the Roadhouse Blues… WRHB