Written by: Norman Darwen (December 2020)
DANNY BROOKS & LIL MISS DEBI
ARE YOU READY? THE MISSISSIPPI SESSIONS
His House Records
Now don’t get me wrong but listening to these twenty trackers is a bit like taking a breathless whistle-stop tour of the south, centered on Mississippi and music from south of the Mason - Dixon line. Conversely though, the opener (which is also the title track) is inspired by vocalist Paul Rodgers, with a solidly grooving southern rock approach and even a slight nod to Free’s All Right Now. It makes for a memorable start, but the quality of the set never lets up, from the excellent moody modern blues of Jesus Had The Blues and the swampy No Easy Way Out to the relaxed, reggae-tinged gospel- blues of Jamaica Sun, Lil Miss Debi’s showcase version of John Prine’s folky Americana classic Angel From Montgomery and the raw Hill Country sound of One More Mile (To Mississippi). It is not surprising then to learn that this Texanadian (as they put it) husband and wife duo recorded this set in Raymond, Mississippi, a suburb of Jackson, and it was produced by former Malaco Records engineer Tom Easley. Danny sings most of the leads, and plays guitar, harp and stomp board whilst Miss Debi takes
the occasional lead, adds heavenly harmonies and thumps the cajon. They are aided and abetted by the likes of gospel-steeped rhythm section Joel and Micah May out of Jackson (drums and bass respectively), vastly experienced keyboards player Chalmers Davis, guitarist Greg Martin of The Kentucky Headhunters and many others. If you are looking for an individual and vastly entertaining set of blues, soul, R’n’B, gospel, southern rock, Americana and folk, guaranteed to put a smile on your face, you won’t go wrong with this.
Written by: Bob Silvestri (December 2020)
The new album from Danny Brooks and Lil Miss Debi titled Are You Ready? The Mississippi Sessions is an authentic slice of real life experiences played out in song. Recorded just outside of Jackson, Mississippi the Toronto natives and current residents of Texas tap into the gritty feel of the mighty river and southern soul and blues. Helping on the album are a crack team of session aces Chalmers Davis, Sam Brady, Micah and Joel May, James Lawlis, John Fannain, Geri O'Neil and special guests Professor Andrew Lewis and Greg Martin from the Kentucky Headhunters. Brooks and Miss Debi offer up a host of outstanding tracks among the twenty tracks here including the title cut and opening track "Are You Ready?" a get in the mood for a good time romp, the instant blues classic "Jesus Had The Blues", the positive vibes of "Jamaica Sun", "No Easy Way Out" a greasy in the pocket jam, the sweet sounds of "Coming Home", "Rock N Roll Was The Baby", the roots anthem "Where Will You Stand", and the ballad about that someone special "Hold On To Love". Further treats include a cover of the John Prine classic "Angel From Montgomery" a showcase track from Miss Debi, the autobiographical upbeat rocker "Broken", the Cajun flavored and sage advice tune "Put A Little Rock N Roll In Your Soul", the soulful "Without Love", the acoustic boogie "Me and Brownie McGhee" a true tale about meeting the blues legend and "When I'm Holding You" about your true love and soul mate. Danny Brooks and Lil Miss Debi and their album Are You Ready? The Mississippi Sessions is an ambitious effort and a throwback to the time was the blues was born. Check out www.dannybrookstexassippisoulman.com or www.facebook.com/TexassippiSoulManDannyBrooks for more information about Danny Brooks and Lil Miss Debi and their album Are You Ready? The Mississippi Sessions.
Written by: John Taylor (December 2020)
Part memoir, part altar call, Danny Brooks and Lil’ Miss Debi’s “Are You Ready? The Mississippi Sessions” is a masterful work that’s timely, yet timeless. Like a favorite Bible verse, it’s one you’ll want to turn to more than once — it’s salve for the soul in an anxious age.
Joined by an impressive collection of backing musicians, the 69-year-old “Texassippi Soul Man” has produced a 20-song album that revisits familiar sounds and places with the wisdom of a man who’s traveled far, learned much and now sees things from a hard-won perspective.
Summoning revival-style gospel, harmonica-rich Mississippi country blues, a little downtown Memphis style and some smooth slide guitar work, Brooks offers encouragement to the sinner, comfort to the weary and warnings to those who would take love for granted.
As the note introducing the title song puts it: “Life can be brutal at times and beautiful at other times. It’s what we make it, in spite of being dealt a bad hand. Life comes at everybody like a freight train, it does not pick favorites. There is no easy way out, but there is peace for those that seek it.”
The playlist further underscores the point.
“I know I’m not a righteous man,” he sings on “Climb That Mountain,” “but sinners need help, too.”
Other songs – “We Do Whatever It Takes,” “No Easy Way Out,” “Where Will You Stand?” and “The Battle” come to mind – also speak to truths Brooks has learned the hard way.
The Canada native has tight-roped between sin and salvation from his childhood days of reciting Scripture on street corners at his father’s bidding to a short-term prison stay in the 1970s. But these days, living in Llano, Texas, he’s made peace with his mistakes — and he’s made his decisions.
“You learn how to win when you know what it’s like to fall,” he adds on “Climb That Mountain.”
One of the more poignant moments on the album comes on “Angel From Montgomery.” It’s perhaps the most heartfelt and genuine rendition of John Prine’s classic since he released it back in 1971.
Recorded in Raymond, Mississippi – just outside Jackson – the band includes guitarists Greg Martin of the Kentucky Headhunters and John Fannin, who formerly worked with Rusty Weir and Jerry Jeff Walker. Micah and Joel May comprise the rhythm section, James Lawlis plays horns and Geri O’Neil provides bass and background vocals. Chalmers Davis and Sam Brady round out the group, along with Professor Andrew Lewis, who mixes in keyboards on “We Do Whatever It Takes.”
Like Brooks and Lil’ Miss Debi, the versatile group can tighten up or ease off at will, but they remain consistent and true throughout the album.
And consistent and true might be the best two words to describe their overall effort here.
Written by: Michael Seget (November 2020)
Texassippi Soul Man Danny Brooks and his wife Lil Miss Debi have put the output of their Mississippi sessions on a full CD. With the twenty songs they undertake a foray through blues, Americana and rock. “Are You Ready?” Appears undisguised and handmade and delivers high quality titles in all styles. Danny Brooks explains that the blues is the father of rock ‘n roll (" Rock N Roll Was The Baby ") and that Jesus already owned the blues (" Jesus Had The Blues "). It is therefore advisable to look at the blues titles at the beginning of the review. Brooks locates the concrete roots of his music in the Mississippi Delta. His smoky, scratchy voice also goes perfectly with this one. Brooks sounds almost like Tom Waits on “The Battle”. The title receives additional drive from the winds, who also enhance several other pieces. The majority of his blues-infiltrated songs shifts into a brisk gear (“Me And Brownie McGhee”) and occasionally he lets it rattle properly with resonator guitar and harmonica (“One More Mile (To Mississippi)”). In the duet with Lil Miss Debi "No Easy Way Out" Brooks slows down the tempo a bit, but the song remains powerful. The strong "We Do Whatever It Takes" moves between blues and Americana. With “Where Will you Stand” Brooks adds another great track in this direction. When Brooks turns to Americana, his songs are partly reminiscent of John Hiatt ("When I'm Holding You"). Lil Miss Debi contributes a soulful version of John Prine's "Angel From Montgomery" to the work. With the exception of this classic, all songs are from Brooks. On "Climb That Mountain" he shows that he can sing atmospheric ballads himself. Does “Are You Ready?” Offer some delicacies in the blues and Americana, the rock songs are the highlight of the menu. In the style of early Southside Johnny, Brooks serves his rock with a good helping of soul. James Lawlis shines on the saxophone on the title track and on “Coming Home”. Harmonica and organs in connection with a strong background choir bring the good old days back to life with “Without Love”. Somewhat out of line are “Jamaica Sun”, which has a slight hint of reggae, and the Schunkel number “Put A Little Rock N‘ Roll In Your Soul ”, which creates dancehall flair in a combination of Cajun and country. Nevertheless, the tracks integrate into the overall work without a break. Its musical range is expanded with “Let Me Know”, which is influenced by gospel. Other musicians would have made two, perhaps more conceptually oriented, releases out of the extensive material. But who wants to complain about a rich offer when the display is so tempting? The booklet designed by Lil Miss Debi deserves a special mention. In addition to the texts and short comments on the songs, photos with information on the musicians involved are also printed on 24 pages. Danny Brooks is now slowly approaching seventy and, together with Lil Miss Debi, presents a fresh, almost 80-minute-long album on which he shows that he knows his way around blues, Americana and rock. Despite the different stylistic influences, “Are You Ready?” Remains an authentic-looking work that skilfully combines the various musical styles, which are indeed related to each other.
Written by: Fred Delforge (November 2020)
This album by the Texans from Toronto, Ontario, was born from the meeting of Danny Brooks and Lil Miss Debi and Tom Easley of AVA Entertainment, and a common desire to record something new, but in an up-to-date configuration. old, what some scholars sometimes call new vintage… So it's in the company of Greg Martin and John Fannin on guitars, Micah May and Gery O'Neil on bass, Chalmers Davis and Sam Brady on keyboards, James Lawlis on saxophones and Joel May on drums that Danny Brooks on vocals and guitars but also on harmonica and Lil Miss Debi on vocals and percussion went to the studio in Raymond, in the suburb of Jackson, Mississippi, to put in box twenty titles in which we notice very beautiful pieces of blues but also some treasures of rock or America, styles that the two singers really master at the fingertips. A few guests like Professor Lewis on Hammond organ and piano, Paul Mitchell on trumpet and Peter Hysen on trombone and here we are in good company to explore beautiful things like "Jesus Had The Blues", "Jamaica Sun" , "Angel From Montgomery", "Where Will You Stand", "Without Love", "Me And Brownie McGhee" or "When I'm Holding You", original titles that each stand out in their own way on the large palette color of black and white American music. Like a long road trip that would take us from Memphis to the depths of the Delta on Highway 61 and behind the wheel of a convertible racing car distilling local music, "Are You Ready? The Mississippi Sessions ”turns out to be a very beautiful testimony to what the region has the best in terms of influences and sounds, an album thought and recorded with the guts but also with the heart which offers us the best of what these Texanadians have it in them. A real musical melting pot in which it is good to get lost in order to better find your way around a slide, a long harmonica tirade or even a few summary percussions!
Written by: Freddy Celis (November 2020)
"Are You Ready" is a new album from Danny Brooks & Lil Miss Debi operating out of Texas. As Texassippi Soul Man Danny Brooks and Lil Miss Debi, they have toured North America extensively for the past 5 years. With the completion of two CDs, "Texassippi Soul Man" (2012) and "This World Is Not Your Friend" (2015) there is now their latest release, this "Are You Ready?". Now based in Llano Texas, Danny Brooks 'Texassippi Soul Man' has blended the best of both Texas and Mississippi and calls it 'Texassippi'. He grew up with Hank Williams, Solomon Burke, Taj Mahal, John Lee Hooker and the Allman Brothers and Blind Boys of Alabama. So much for some info about Danny Brooks, this one about Lil Miss Debi remains mysterious The album contains 20 songs of which there is just one single cover, namely John Prine's, ... right, "Angel From Montgomery". Danny Brooks opens with a song called Are You Ready. Just like the beautiful blues, the vocal qualities of Lil Miss Debi are not immediately high days. The album was recorded in Mississippi, outside of Jackson. Brooks and Lil Miss Debi identify as Texanadians. The 20 songs are a blend of blues, swampy Americana but also some catchy gospels. To increase the diversity even more with "Jamaica Sun" we even get a piece of reggae, one that goes in smoothly. Delicious soul blues then again with "We Do Whatever It Takes" after which we end up in sixth gear in gosland with "Let Me Know". It is the variety of songs that make up the album and that's how Lil Miss Debi comes into the spotlight with "Angel From Montgomery". Soul à volenté then with songs like "Coming Home" and the romantic ballad "Where Will You Stand". Unexpectedly, both show up with their child on "Rock 'n Roll Was The Baby". On songs like "Clim That Mountain" and "Put A Little Rock 'n Roll in Your Soul" they take us on a country tour in Texas, just for the ambiance. "Without Love" is a blues and gospel sensitive soul song that can be good, after which we move towards the cotton field with Brownie McGhee with "Me and Brownie McGhee". Danny Brooks & Lil Miss Debi were a blank slate for myself and yes from now on I also feel like a Texanadian and thus connected to their "Texassippi" ..... Sometimes, and certainly with the soulful ballads, they shine a light on the Holmes Brothers.