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Morry Sochat & the Special 20s – Eatin’ Dirt
Galaxie Records 2010
12 tracks; 40.43 minutes
A new name to me, 40 year old Morry Sochat (pronounced “Socket”) is Chicago based and this is his third CD. The previous one was produced by no less a figure than Nick Moss, but this time Jimmy Sutton is at the controls and the band really responds. The sleeve notes inform me that the horn section is a recent addition and it certainly works for me, adding a depth to the sound and colour to the solos available to the band. The band draws its name from a make of harmonica by Hohner, in case you were wondering!
line up features Morry on vocals and harp, Ted Beranis on bass, guitars
from Jim St Marie and Shoji Naito, drums from Marty Binder and a horn
section of Chris Neal on sax and Dave Corcoran on trumpet and keys.
Famous friends also contribute: Billy Flynn, Dave Herrero and producer
Jimmy Sutton add guitar on a track each; John Kattke plays piano on one
Morry’s harp introduces “Someone to love”. Morry is on the lookout for love, but does not sound too particular, as long as the girl looks good when she puts on her evening gown! Billy Flynn provides a strong guitar break. Track 4 is a homage to the Windy City, “Meet me in Chicago”. As well as paying tribute to their home town the band plays a relaxed, almost jazzy feel here, with the trumpet solo reminding us that blues and jazz were once very much part of the same music – you could imagine Louis Armstrong playing this solo in his prime. “Empty Pockets” is one of those tunes that draws on Otis Rush’s “All your Love” riff to tell a classic blues story of struggling to keep your head above water over a dramatic guitar break (Dave Herrero) and strong horn support in the background.
“Apple of my eye” is an upbeat swinger led by Morry’s harp and a nice stop/start rhythm. Morry is in love again and this time the fruit analogies fly thick and fast, with the girl compared to a list that includes peaches, watermelons, raspberries and apples - a real fruit salad of a song! Track 7 is “Natural Born Lover”, a fast shuffle with a strong harp solo and driving piano from Dave Corcoran. A nice lyrical twist is when the lady cop puts the handcuffs on herself rather than the author when she arrests him for speeding!
The cover of “Mother in law Blues” features some good guitar and harp underpinned by rolling piano – classic Chicago blues. “Riot up in here” is great, a real slice of rock n’ roll, featuring producer Jimmy Sutton’s guitar over rocking piano and intense drumming – another one you can’t sit still to! “Telephone Blues” is a slow blues written by Little George Smith in the 1950’s and previously covered by Jimmy Witherspoon. It is a feature for Morry’s harp which takes on quite an eerie feel to accompany the tale of a relationship ending. “Yo-Yo” is a mid-paced tune in which the author likens his state of mind to a yo-yo because his lover blows hot and cold in their relationship. The album concludes with a drum roll intro to “Fried Chicken and Waffles”, essentially a showcase for each soloist – guitar, trumpet, guitar again, sax, piano, bass, drums and concluding with Morry’s tribute to a dish that does not sound much like healthy eating!
I very much enjoyed this CD and recommend it. The sound qualities are excellent and there is plenty of variety with such a large band. The band plays mainly around Chicago, but as Morry is originally from Texas they get there from time to time as well as regular trips to St Louis and Las Vegas. Catch them if they come your way.
Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He also travels to the States most years to see live blues music. He went on his first Legendary Blues Cruise in January 2010 and had such a good time he will be back in 2011!