Casey - Sofa King Badass
Run Time: 54:32
States side, Mason Casey is probably a virtual
unknown to many. Now, if you say the name Wilson Pickett, ears will
perk up. Jimmy Johnson and people start coming out of the wood work
in Chicago just to get a glimpse. Steve Cropper and ideas of years
gone by in Memphis conjure in the mind. Where does Mason Casey fit
in? Let’s call him the guy in the right place at the right time.
Casey toured a lot with Pickett near the end of
his life as his band’s harmonica player and backup vocalist.
Pickett’s friend and producer (along with blues legend Little
Milton) Jon Tiven heard Casey and then Casey & Tiven went on to
release 3 popular CDs in France before Northern Blues decided to
pull the trigger on a North American release. The product is what
you have here, the little bit crass (just say the album title slowly
and you’ll get what I mean) and whole lot of soul-blues of Sofa
Casey’s gruff John Hammond-esque vocals give
you stripped down blues rock on “You Make It Hard” and the Pickett
and Don Covay penned soul of “Nine Times A Man.” The rest of the
album besides a few gems pretty much lie within this realm,
bordering on formulaic at times but still very upbeat and
listenable. Check out “Blue Hair Woman” which easily could be a
missing southern rock gem; the Texas-styled shuffle appearance of
“That’s My Heart;” and the funky album title track, which really
isn’t ready friendly but pure good fun and funky as all get out!
The highlights of the disc that stand out from
the rest are the appearances of Jimmy Johnson on lead guitar.
Johnson never sounded better. Sounding much like the funky
soul-blues of his Delmark Records’ releases Johnson unleashes an
immaculate assault on guitar, a pure fury for a guy pushing into his
70s! He outshines producer-guitar player Tiven on the disc that it’s
immediately noticeable. Johnson’s effortless work is not meant to
outshine anyone but he’s so good, it’s hard not to say it here.
“Chesterfield County Jail” and “Take Me to the Airport” will be just
2 more notches for Johnson in his otherwise vastly immaculate
catalog. These sides also offer Casey a chance to leap off on,
providing some great harp accents in and around Johnson on the two
Steve Cropper also makes two appearances on the
CD on “Let Me In” and “Done Crying” and they appear to fall in with
the rest of Casey’s work on the CD, nothing extravagant or
noteworthy; just good.
I give Casey credit, much like the liner notes
suggest; he is different. He’s not like most in that he either plays
straight-ahead blues rock or sound like a classic too much. He’s
right in the middle. The songs are good. The release is solid,
anchored by a legend. I would say it’s a good spring board for Mason
Casey to jump from and improve on as his names’ sake will grow here
in his homeland.
Check out Mason on Myspace at
http://www.myspace.com/masoncasey or learn more from the
Northern Blues website.
is available from all major record outlets.
Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.