Sunday, June 17, 2007

Review - BIG JOHN BATES - Take Your Medicine

Big John Bates
Devil Sauce Recordings
Out on the edge of bluesdom there is an old fashioned traveling medicine show wagon set up. Out of the back troops the band Big John Bates. They begin to play, and the crowd looks bewildered, a little like taking a shot of Buckley's cough medicine. Yes it starts out with a taste you aren't sure you like, but guess what, it only takes a few minutes to realize; Hey! This stuff works.
Well so does Big John Bates. By now I have listened to a ton of blues music over the years having written reviews for a decade, or so now, and yet I'm not sure I can compare this to anyone else.
The band's own website describes them as follows; “Fifty year ago, in the kingdom of Elvis, jump blues and country spat out a style called rockabilly. Twelves steps further down that lowbrow road is Big John Bates, with one foot in Memphis and the other on 42nd Street, pumped on moonshine liquor and knockoff Viagra.”
Quirky, oh my goodness YES!!!!! and I love it. Sometimes living on the edge means a band falls off that edge into oblivion. Not Big John Bates. He digs in his claws and does his own thing and dares you to try to walk away.
I'm not sure why anyone would want too.
Big John has a great voice, but musically tip the old chapeau to Caroline 'Care-oline' Helmeczi, who plays upright bass here. She really carries the beat and the flavour of the group, and that too makes this a wonderful effort.
Gregory 'Stagecoach' McDonald adds drums, in this beat driven musical style.
This is a band that I would love to see in concert. I bet the show, which is noted for including the Voodoo Dolls, stage show, would be totally off the wall.
For freshness, edginess and sound, one of the best I've sampled in a long while. Hope to grab a few of their earlier works one day.

- Review first appeared Yorkton This Week newspaper May 9, 2007 - Yorkton, SK. Canada

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