Sue and her Big Rockin’ Daddies
Big City Blues
Review by Rob
you thought the only music to ever come out of the Pacific Northwest
was grunge—and Kenny G—think again. There is a thriving blues scene
out in them thar parts, anchored in Seattle’s legendary Pioneer
Square (Seriously, Ray Charles emerged from the Seattle scene after
one seriously long bus ride from the old South). One of the
strongest links in that anchor chain is Becki Sue and Her Big Rockin’
Daddies, with their new release, Big City Blues.
This disk is a nice blend of blues, jazz and even a little 50’s
style under-the-lamp-post New York street harmony. Even though
Big City Blues is a well-produced studio mix, one can quickly
tell the band is enjoying what they are doing, just as might be
expected at a live show.
band is anchored by the gritty but professional voice of Tumwater,
Washington, native Becki Sue. Backing her up are Jim King on harp
and tenor sax, Tom Boyle on a variety of guitars, Jeff Hayes on
drums and Les White doing his Bill Black thing on the old fashioned
stand-up bass. Big City Blues also features the keyboard work
of several guest ticklers.
Here’s a quick look at some of the individual tracks….
disk opens up with the Tom Boyle original, “You’re Killin’ Me,” a
good rocking soul rouser. Next is the 50’s classic, “Farmer John,”
sung by Jim King. I hadn’t heard this one in a couple of decades,
not even on the oldies stations, and it brought back some fun
memories of my long-ago youth.
King’s crying harp changes the tempo and sets the tone for the Etta
James classic, “The Sun is Shining,” with a Becki Sue vocal that
reminds one of Janis Joplin and all her vulnerabilities.
Boyle compliments himself nicely on guitar with his Muddy Waters
style original, “Pardon Me,” which also has some clever lyrics
voiced nicely by Becky Sue.
Jumping ahead to cut seven, “Soul Serenade,” we come to a Boots
Randolph influenced instrumental featuring the fine tenor sax work
of Jim King. “Big City Blues” and “If You Let Me Call You
Sweetheart,” are two more originals. “Blues” is a bit simplistic
but holds up well enough thanks to a fine harp solo. “Sweetheart”
is a jazz-style sales pitch to a lover who will not let Becki Sue
close the deal.
“Maybe,” is a pre-Motown soul tear-jerker with a hint of
street-corner harmony and some heavy reverb.
final track is “Backstroke,” an instrumental recorded in one take at
Clarksdale, Mississippi’s, famous Studio 61 while the band was in
town to perform at Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Blues Club.
Big Rockin’ Daddies may not be all that young, especially by Seattle
contemporary music standards, but they are clearly having fun, just
as you will when you listen to Big City Blues. CLICK
HERE to hear some songs and/or purchase this CD.
Editor's note: This CD also features
appearances by special guests Candye Kane, Mitch Woods, Eric "Two
Scoops" Moore, Ron Weinstein and Peter Dammann.
Rob Paullin is a former Memphis
radio guy . Rob has sampled the blues in Venice, Kyiv and
Beijing, among other foreign haunts. He says Berlin is next on his list.