29 May 2011

OLD GRAY MULE - 40 Nickles For A Bag Of Chips (Available Tuesday May 31st!)

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That other little ol' band from Texas is back with more of their North Mississippi Hill Country grooves flooded with muddy Rio Grande instrumental grit and goodness. 

Forty Nickles For A Bag Of Chips is a ten song tribute to the men who inspired C.R. Humphrey to play guitar in the first place. Men like Belton Sutherland, Jack Owens, Paul "Wine" Jones, R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and others. Each song, with the exception of a cover of Closer Walk With Thee, is original and all but two of the songs are first-takes.  

Wondering what the album title is about? 
C.R. reminded me that on R.L. Burnside's album Ass Pocket Of Whiskey, Jon Spencer (of The Blues Explosion) is heard asking R.L. for "40 Nickles for a bag of chips". Geez, the things I forget. I used to know that album sideways. I done got olde, people. Time to bust it back out!

40 Nickles was recorded at Jimbo Mathus' Delta Recording Services in Como, Mississippi in one-hour and fifty-minutes ( plus a couple breaks ).  C.R. and Kinney Kimbrough recorded all the songs while Jimbo was out gettin' beer and gas, which is why Mathus is credited in the liner notes as "Spiritual Advisor and Sketch Artist" rather than producer. Well-deserved monickers, none the less, i'd reckon.

Once again, this album is a two-man operation: C.R. Humphrey, of course, on guitar with the legendary Kinney Kimbrough ( son of the late, great Junior Kimbrough ) on drums. And once again, you don't even miss the vocals. The music is just that good.  C. R. was between drummers when the time came to record and since he and Kinney had played together some at C.R.'s annual Junior Kimbrough's birthday bash it seemed a natural fit to enlist him to fill the spot. Kinney hadn't heard any of the songs prior to recording but you'd sure as hell never know it.  As C.R. says, "The man is an absolute pro." and it shows on this album. Humphrey himself is no slouch. His guitar style is full and intricate, but he leaves space to allow the songs to breath, slink and groove. He studied the masters but did not let that get in his way. I have no doubt he would make his heroes proud.  
40 Nickels For A Bag Of Chips is another delicious collection of songs done the way only Old Gray Mule can do 'em. It's like Chris Johnson-style BBQ for your ears. Gotta have it!

Here's what Jimbo Mathus and Justin Showah had to say about Old Gray Mule:

"Either you find an old tube amp in the garbage or you drive halfway across the country to look a turtle in his eye. I shook Charley’s hand at 11:00 am and at 5 o’clock he left with his record, mixed and finished. Every track was one take flawless. The heartbeat of the hills was steady beneath the heels and wrists of a giant, Kinney Kimbrough, and sounds clapped off the walls like quick flashes of lightning or knives being flung at your ears.
Keep your mouth shut and master the notes of the instrument, and you make a map for the soul and your fingers trace it out on a piece of wood and metal strings like connecting the dots across the stateline skies.
You woke up out of a trance to find a recording was made of your journey to the center of the groove and it is the CD you’re holding in your hands."

Old Gray Mule - 40 Nickles - Poor Boy On The Line mp3
Old Gray Mule - 40 Nickles - Kill The Old Gray Mule mp3

Old Gray Mule f/ C.W. Ayon- Live: Slightly Returned mp3
Old Gray Mule f/ C.W. Ayon- Live: That's my Girl (Cedric & Lightnin' cover) mp3

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