Greg “Stackhouse” Prevost – Mississippi Murderer (2013)

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A terrific debut solo album from the lead singer of the Chesterfield Kings, Greg Prevost’s Mississippi Murderer is an all-blues affair — and a much welcome one, at that.

Prevost has shown an affinity for the blues and for blues rock throughout his career, but especially on The Chesterfield Kings’ limited-edition 1990 release Drunk On Muddy Water. Prevost, of course, handles all of the vocals, but also ably and strongly handles all of the guitars here, too — something he hasn’t been known for that in his prior band — as well as his usual harmonica, maracas, and tambourine.

He sounds refreshed and fired up in a way he hasn’t sounded in years. There’s a sense of newfound freedom. An excellent example of that is the crunchy rocking album opener “Death Rides With The Morning Sun,” which strides the blues-rocker saddle quite confidently — while taking no prisoners. Greg Prevost is superbly assisted by a multi-talented duo on drums and tambourine by Zachary Koch of St. Phillip’s Escalator, and Alex Patrick of the Absolutes on bass. Patrick also doubles as the album’s co-producer with Stackhouse, and engineer. Keenan Bartlett guests on honky-tonk piano on four tracks.

The delightful shuffle beat of the Skip James song “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” is like what the original Rolling Stones might’ve sounded like today had Brian Jones lived, as it’s done with some choice slide guitar by Greg. An inspired bluesier cover of Donovan’s Bo-Diddleyish “Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness)” rivals not only the author’s but Eric Burdon and the Animals’ version, too. The full-tilt rocker “Too Much Junk” is a cautionary tale of the late great New York Dolls’ lead guitarist Johnny Thunders’ self-destructive ways — and perhaps the most Chesterfield Kings-like tune on Mississippi Murderer. It wouldn’t have sounded out of place on one of their mid-period albums.

“Stoned To Death” draws on the old let’s-go-get-high adage. Greg Prevost distances himself from the more famous Son House version of “John the Revelator” with an abrasive, stomping, minimalist approach that sounds like the Velvet Underground attempting a blues with Mick Jagger on the lead vocals. The hard boogie “Get Myself Home’s” spinning top-like guitar grabs at you until you’re dizzy in a blues haze. The Exile on Main Street outtake “I Ain’t Signifying” (aka “I’m Not Signifying”) brands the Jagger-Richards-as-blues tune vs. the Stones’ more straight forward, New Orleans honky-tonk piano version. “Downstate New Yawk Blues” is a jump n’ shout, traveling-roadside blues raver to the Big Apple. Prevost also takes “Ramblin’ On My Mind” back from Eric Clapton towards its purest acoustic blues roots.

Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott

Steve Elliott has written for Shindig, Twist and Shake, Garage & Beat and Ugly Things. A big fan of all things rock and roll - especially the British Invasion, garage rock, psychedelic, new wave, folk rock, surf and power pop - he was a consultant on Sundazed Music's reissue of 'The Best of Butch Engle & The Styx: No Matter What You Say' in 2000, and has also provided liner notes for Italy's Misty Lane Records. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Steve Elliott
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