Lots of music gets passed off as blues-inflected or blues-rock, but it’s rare to hear something that is absolutely, 100 percent blues. Scandalous is blues. I imagine that Joe Lewis did much of the obligatory swamp crawling that comes with traditional blues territory; it’s just such gritty music. But not in the modern sense of the word, there isn’t much in the way of heavy distortion, but with a lightly amplified acoustic guitar, somehow, a lot of dirt shines through.
This album reeks of fried food, late nights with unsavory characters and loose women, and that’s the glorious thing about it. It’s got that old blues charm that many blues musicians today can’t pull off. Joe Lewis must have stepped out of a time machine after jamming with Robert Johnson and other late blues greats, because he really has the feel down.
On more than a few occasions I caught myself smiling as I listened. This is especially true on “Mustang Ranch.” The story telling is subtle, I won’t spoil it, but it’s about a guy trying to get his “ham glazed” and the whacky encounters he has with people in the area.
This is an interesting release, it’s not original, but it has a really strong aesthetic appeal that sets it above most other contemporary blues records I know of. A worthy addition to any blues lover’s collection.
In A Word: Savory