Our friendship with Little Johnny Kantreed goes back several years.. We've had the pleasure to review all his other albums, and his latest set is a real winner, indeed. Entitled "Odds And Ends...Live," it is a compilation of live cuts that span Johnny's career. There are cuts from a live radio broadcast in Knoxville for WDVX in January, 2012, from Norm's River Roadhouse in June, 2009, from Hippie Jack's Festival in Crawford, TN, in September, 2011, and one 'lectrified live jam from February 2003 at Lady Godiva's in Lebanon, TN.
Johnny is a fine purveyor of the old-school Delta blues, and he's at his best when he's using his blues to tell a story, in the vein of the old-time traveling troubadours. Check out his tale of quite the ladies' man, "Joe's Blues," played on his three-string cigar box guitar. It features fiddle from Kat Starr, who is his duet partner on perhaps the most beautiful piece on the set, "Sylvie." He revisits his gospel roots on "Glory Glory," and a sweet read of the Rev. Gary Davis' "You Got To Move," with guests Ricky and Micol Davis of Blue Mother Tupelo.
We had two favorites, too. One of Johnny's most humorous songs is "One String Willie Goes To Europe," again played on the cigar box guitar. And, the only purely-electric cut on the set is a blistering slow-burner, "Good Woman Blues," recorded in Lebanon back in 2003. It was our favorite off his "Front Porch Blues" album, and, ten years later, it still smokes!
Little Johnny Kantreed is a man who passes on a little bit of blues history every time he strings up. His knowledge of the pre-WWII Delta masters and their guitar styles is impeccable, and we've been lucky to have seen him many times over the years. Get the feeling of one of his performances with a copy of "Odds And Ends...Live!" Until next time....Sheryl and Don Crow
This is not your usual boogie-dance-sweat group that you'd see at Stevie Rays. However - you could very easily work up a sweat dancing to this. Recorded live - 8 tracks from WDVX - Knoxville, TN, all recorded in 2012, two from Jammin' at Hippie Jacks in Crawford, TN, and one from Lady Godiva's in Lebanon, TN, and the others at Norm's River Road House in Nashville, TN.
The cover shows a gentleman in overalls and flannel shirt sitting in front of a wall with several three string cigar box guitars hanging on the wall behind him. Macanudo and H. Hupman are well represented. They have a lady fiddler (violin too), acoustic guitar and cigar box players, harmonica players and all share on the vocals. This is not camp, this is real music done for real people who are interested in this - I would call it folk blues, country blues - no matter the title or titles - which may scare many away - like "The Grey Goose", "Joe's Blues", "You Got To Move', "One-String Willie Goes to Europe", "Cigar Box Blues" and "Goodnight Irene".
I like their sound and I like this CD. Their blues songs are really blues songs. I wouldn't be surprised to see them playing at Headliners.