Texassippi Soul Man
Danny Brooks

His House Records - HHRDB005
Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Danny Brooks is one of those cats who transcend idioms, genres, and stylistic cages, blending rock and roll, soul, blues, and Americana (even as quintessentially Canadian as he is) in a brew that's heady as hell and impossible to resist. When he calls himself a soul man, it's neither boast nor PR strategy but just the plain truth. He in fact has a lot in common with Johnny Winter, prime period Lee Michaels, and by all rights would likely have gotten righteously together with Mike Bloomfield, had that unfortunate lived long enough. I can only imagine, and drool, at what might have occurred had such a miracle transpired: an Electric Flag with Danny Brooks? Hoooo-eeee! Texassippi Soul Man is the guy's latest, and I've reviewed him twice in these pages (here and here) but was really riveted by the Live at the Palais Royale release a little while ago. Texassippi, then, emerges at the end of 2012 to find his perfect mid-point between studio and stage incarnations.

Brooks hides his Christian viewpoint not a whit, never has since he was salvaged. Winging firmly back from a hurtling fall saved the gent from the place where the crimson guy with the horns and pointy trident does his work, and that only jumped up Brooks' own efforts work to the next level 'cause he ain't one of these door-knocking zombies we're all too familiar with but rather a cat on fire to lend a helping hand to the down and out…and what better embodies the essence of the blues, personal or social, than that? Nor is he a slickered-up preacher type, what with all that hair down past his shoulders, leathers, cowboy hat, and shades. No, you can't pigeon-hole Mama Brooks' boy and feel safe about it.

In Texassippi, the emphasis is on all the above plus a strong sense of congregation, of an earthy meeting of the spirit with swing, slide, harmonica, and allsorts along with not a little country tossed in for good measure (catch the infectious Mama Prayed, a prime cut). Brooks knows how to play that spangly axe he wields and recruits several other fretbenders to assist, providing all kinds of licks within a stompin' bootscootin' milieu. Not a whole lot of balladry here, y'all, but when things do mellow down, as in I Wanna be with You, it's jes' a mite eerie and wistful. Otherwise, get yer dancing shoes or cowpoke boots on 'cause you're in for over 70 minutes of boogie, after which you'll need a lil' sit-me-down to catch yer breath…before jumping back up to do it all over again.

Track List:

Soul Man
Can't Stop Riding This Train
Let It Rain
Trouble Me No More
Shakin' My Burdens Free
Hard Workin' Man
Better Man Than Me

Mama Prayed
Running With the Best of Them
I Want to Be With You
Something Gotta Hold On Me
Middle of a Miracle
You're the Best Thing About Me
The Night Hank Williams Let Me Down
Caught a Fire

All songs written by Danny Brooks except Can't Stop Riding this Train (Brooks / McTaggart).

Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.

This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.