Review - Hobo Nickel
Jug band music was never about flashy instrumental work, and the Stompers – local music deites Greg Haymes, aka Wild Bill on washboard and harmonica, Paul “Bowtie” Johnson on banjo, Mike Eck on mandolin and jug, and Steve Clyde on guitar- stay true to that tradition. The disc’s strong suit -that good-time, loosey-goosey feel kicks in with the opening cut, Uncle Dave Macon’s “Morning Blues,” when the kazoo and the harmonica banter among themselves in between the verses as the washboard, mandolin, banjo, and guitar lazily float the rhythm downstream.
The only departure from the jug band/roots repertoire, Billy Joe Royal’s 1965 pop hit “Down in the Boondocks,” comes next. The banjo picks a calypso grove, and the age-old theme of love versus class distinction incarnates anew.
On they roll until the final track, The Delmore Brothers “Freight Train Boogie,” where Clyde in is good voice and Haymes’ harp caterwauls the train whistle imitations that are obligatory in any railroad song. Just when you think the record is over, they surprise you with an ragtimey instrumental coda of kazoo-driven mayhem.
Hobo Nickel is a euphoric offering from some of
Albany’s most venerable musical veterans.
—Glenn Weiser ©2010 by Glenn Weiser.
All rights reserved.
©2010 by Glenn Weiser. All rights reserved.
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