GEORGIE BONDS Stepping Into Time.
8th Train Records.
This album opens with a short a Capella version of St James Infirmary which immediately establishes Bonds’ credentials as a tough, gritty soulful and rich baritone vocalist with plenty of depth and emotion. Bonds is from Philadelphia and spent fifteen year’s working with horses before a friend loaned him a Robert Johnson tape and the delta blues grabbed him. Bonds tells his story in the autobiographical country blues The Blacksmith which features heavy riffing slide guitar from Neil Taylor and superb wailing harmonica from Buddy Cleveland. The jazzy swing shuffle What More features spicy sax from Dave Renz and a tasty guitar break from Harvey Jacobson. Lord, Oh Lord is a funky N’Awlins style second liner driven by drummer Andy Haley and Taylor’s fierce slide guitar plus bar-room piano from Walter Runge. Angry, but soulful, vocals dominate the lengthy minor key blues ballad Daily News as Bonds bemoans the current state of society. Centrepiece of the album is the organ driven Dyin’ Is The Easy Way which features funky bass from James White, upbeat vocals and a screaming guitar solo from Taylor. A complete change of pace comes with the gentle soul ballad Calling Your Name featuring Bonds crooning taking centre stage. Other highlights are a pair of funky blues-rockers Going Shopping and I Need Somebody and the heartfelt Hurricane Blues. Closer is John Lee Hooker’s perennial stomper Dimples with Bonds growling vocals and Taylor’s tasty guitar leading the way home. There is a bonus track with a stripped down version of The Blacksmith featuring acoustic guitar and wailing harp behind Bonds’ raw vocals. This is a cracking album which I thoroughly enjoyed and comes highly recommended.