FREE Subscription - For more information  CLICK HERE



Back To Reviews page

The Mighty Mojo Prophets – The Mighty Mojo Prophets

Rip Cat Records

13 Tracks, 45:22

The Mighty Mojo Prophets have released their self-titled first CD and at first listen it is reminiscent of fellow west coast blues bands like The Paladins and Little Charlie & The Nightcats. But to call them a West Coast Blues band would be an injustice to this California combo. They may have a foot firmly planted in the soil tilled by Big Joe Turner and T-Bone Walker but they reach far beyond the Golden State to Texas, Chicago, the Mississippi Delta and beyond.

Guitarist Mitch Dow gets some classic Elmore James tones and harp-man Alex “Lil A” Woodson explores the sounds of Little Walter, James Cotton, and fellow west coaster Charlie Musselwhite. Vocalist Tom “Big Son” Eliff delivers his vocals in a casual manner exuding style and confidence that his Mojo is working just fine and the rhythm section of drummer Johnny Minguez and bassist Scott Lambert are adept at keeping things moving from sea to shining sea.

Their songs, mostly written by Eliff and Dow, are succinct but pack a lot of top-notch playing into the short spaces of time. In fact, each tune could be considered a time capsule in the sense that they each capture a moment that is both of an era and timeless in the same instance.

Opening with a brisk shuffle that could have been born in Chicago in 1951 or Austin, Texas in 1981, they’re off and running with “Evil Sometimes.” “Friday Night Phone Call” could be a Saturday night fish fry or high school hop with guitar licks reminiscent of Bill Haley & The Comets over the swing of Louis Jordan. “Life’s A Hurtin’ Thing” could be a Jimmy Smith or Jimmy McGriff organ trio tune or a Mighty Flyers vamp, and album closer “Travelin’ Man” captures the lonesome train station blues of the Delta where the Southern crosses the Dog and a sorrowful harp blows like the wind of discontent.

Mitch Dow gets extra miles with some raspy slide guitar on “Night Train” while Woodson blows the Mississippi saxophone announcing the departure for parts unknown. Eliff sings with the sorrow of a man deserted at the station, scorned by love, a lover, and life. It is a shining moment where all their talents come together with profound results.

Guitarist Mitch Dow also gets time to shine on his jumping instrumental “Da Switch.” He mixes up the tones on his guitars with the rhythm guitar slightly distorted and drenched with reverb while the solo guitars vary from crisp and clean to icy cool like Albert Collins. Again, it is a short tune that comes on, says what needs to be said and gets out. It is an exercise in restraint that owes as much to Jimmie Vaughan as it does Freddie King. Dow uses the spaces to let this and many other songs on the album do some breathing and we’re all the better for it. His riffs convey notions, emotions and motions without being overbearing or too busy and Tom Eliff’s smooth singing is always bolstered by the band. They play for the song, making each one count.

Alex Woodson plays some lowdown harp on “Hoodoo Lover” while Eliff’s vocals work their spell on the unsuspecting object of his affection. In songs like this, “Evil Sometimes,” “Night Train” and others, Eliff captures the spirit of old blues lyrics without sounding trite or hokey. Musically, stylistically, and lyrically this new band captures the essence of the old and offers a contemporary adaptation of their influences. Hopefully this disc is the first of many for this Long Beach area band.

Reviewer Jim Kanavy is the greatest guitar player in his house. He has been reviewing albums in his head for 30 years and in print since 2008, and is deeply committed to keeping the blues alive and thriving. For more information visit

To submit a review or interview please contact:

For more information please contact:


Home  |  Contact  |  Submit Your Blues News - Advertise with Blues Blast Magazine
 Copyright - Blues Blast Magazine
2010    Design by: Moxi Dawg Design