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Big Joe And The Dynaflows - You Can’t Keep A Big Man Down

Severn Records


Big Joe and crew have been covering a wide spectrum of blues styles since beginning their career in the late 1980’s. Chicago, Texas, Kansas City Jump blues and New Orleans R&B are authentically represented. This version of The Dynaflows seems to have been put together expressly for this recording and features past and present members of Delbert McClinton’s band. The five piece band achieves a full sound with the late Dennis Taylor often multi-tracking his saxes to produce a horn section. Rob McNelley’s guitar colors all the tunes either with tasty background riffing or full-out soloing. Co-producer Kevin Mckendree also adds organ and piano. The rhythm section of Big Joe on drums and Bill Campbell on bass swing things along so effortlessly that you almost don’t realize how locked-in their easy-loping groove is. Big Joe’s vocals fall somewhere in between Chicago blues and Kansas City jump and R&B. And the way he does it up it’s a good place to fall. Listening to this stuff is no chore at all, as nothing is out of place or included as filler.

The title track refers to Joe’s near career-ending accident in 2001 and he proves his point right from the git-go with its swinging blues groove. The R&B injected version of B.B. King’s “Bad Case Of Love” is enhanced by the sax section. One of the highlights of the record for me is the best song Fats Domino never wrote-“Evangeline”, written for Joe’s cousins’ two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Substitute the ‘Fat Man’s’ voice for Joe’s and it sounds like a hit from the 50’s, complete with patented Domino piano tinkling. The age-old predicament of troublesome neighbors is broached in “Property Line”, a true story taken from Joe’s life. It’s hard to believe it isn’t The Meter’s backing the vocals on this one with one of their snappy guitar riffs and what could easily be Booker T. Jones on organ. “Watcha Gonna Do?” would fit right into Roomful Of Blues’ horn-driven repertoire. These guys can pull off a slow blues burner just as readily as they replicate the jump-swing tunes, as seen in “Someday” and the tale about our current hard economic times “Nothin’ But Trouble”. Similar treatment is shown on the slow Kansas City swing of Jay McShann’s “Confessin’ The Blues” featuring a nifty guitar turn from Rob McNelley. One of the six originals “Face The Facts” addresses the work-a-day life of the everyman. Under-appreciated guitar wizard Earl Hooker is given his due in the tribute “Supercharger”, as the guitar skitters merrily along. Kevin Mckendree puts his boogie-woogie piano skills on display on the closer “What the Hell Were You Thinkin’?” which was written by himself, McClinton and Tom Hambridge.

I know the band’s reputation, but this being the first full record of theirs I’ve been exposed to, there is definitely a well-honed group of craftsman here in tune to American music. Outfits like this surely deserve a wider audience. You owe it to yourself and the guys to pick this one up.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta. He is the proprietor of Bluesdog’s Doghouse at

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