Sunday, June 17, 2007

Review -- WATERMELON SLIM and the WORKERS -- The Wheel Man

THE WHEEL MAN
Watermelon Slim and the Workers
Northernblues Music
7-out-of-10

You want to talk about pedigree in the music business, well Watermelon Slim has certainly been developing one in terms of blues music.
Within the last year alone, Slim and the Workers were nominated for six Blues Music Awards . In addition, Living Blues Radio voted his 2006 self-titled release, the fourth best album of that year. Slim was also inducted into the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame this year.
OK, so you kind of get the feeling when you are cutting the cellophane off the CD that The Wheel Man is likely to be something pretty special.
While today we see many blues musicians – such as Big Poppa Chubby and Big John Bates -- pushing the edges of the genre, Watermelon Slim makes no pretense about his blues. His is a deep-rooted take on the music, one just as relevant today as it would have been in a blues bar from half a century ago.
Songs such as the title cut, Newspaper Reporter (maybe a new theme song), Black Water, Sawmill Holler, and Rattlesnake are just some example of cuts here which are truly timeless lyrically. That tells you Watermelon Slim has a good grounding in current themes, while also being historically aware of the music he plays, and in this case that is clearly a winning combination.
This may not rate in my top five blues albums of 2007, but it is a solid effort by a performer well-grounded in the genre.
It's definitely a CD any blues fan will be glad they purchased.
Check out Slim and the Workers at http://www.watermelonslim.com/
-- CALVIN DANIELS

- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper May 30, 2007 - Yorkton, SK, Canada

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