||NATHAN JAMES & THE RHYTHM SCRATCHERS "WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT"
Source: Blues in Britain Magazine
Writer: Mick Rainsford
Nathan James has forged a formidable reputation releasing some of the finest pre-war styled blues recordings in recent blues history, a trait he continues on his DeltaGroove debut, permeating it with shades of the 50’s/60’s R&B he also loves.
Since his last release, James has fashioned several new instruments, a 3 string Tri-Tar, a Bari-Tar and a Washtar Gitboard – all basically homemade guitar necks implanted onto washboards – giving his music the uniquely raw, rhythmic and lowdown sound that makes this set so impressive.
Backed by the hot rhythm section of Troy Sandow and the great Marty Dodson, James opens with the wild, trance-inducing “Chosen Kind” where the combination of Tri-Star, harp and moaned vocals melds the influences of Lonnie Pitchford (on speed) and Junior Kimbrough. Blind Boy Fuller’s “Black Snakin’ Jiver” melds Fuller’s influences with shades of Tampa Red via the manic kazoo, the frantic washboard rhythms bringing tap-dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson to mind.
Vocally, Larry Williams comes to mind on a soulful rendition of Jimmy McCracklin’s “Later On” with it’s distorted Bari-Tar – horns accentuate the Sam Cooke feel on “First And The Most – whilst Bobby Patterson’s “I’m A Slave To You” is horn-fuelled Rhythm’n’Soul at it’s finest.
Add in the Johnny Allen influenced Cajun soul of “Pain Inside Waltz” – James Harman’s fine vox and harp riding James’ “tokoloshe” rhythms on “Rhino Horn” - and the “vintage-modern” twist James gives to the Othar Turner/Napoleon Strickland inspired “You Led Me On” and you have a set that can only come highly recommended. (www.deltagroovemusic.com)