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Mason 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 King Badass.

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 tracks.

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 or learn more from the Northern Blues website.

Album is available from all major record outlets.

Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.

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