Mac Arnold & Plate Full O' Blues

Nothin' To Prove

Plantation #1 Productions MA31605


Mac Arnold, lead vocal and bass; Max Hightower, harmonica, slide guitar and piano; Austin Brashier, guitars and background vocals; Mark McMakin, bass and background vocals; and, Mike Whitt, drums. Special guests are Rudy "Blue Shoes" Wyatt on piano and Jim Peterman on Hammond B3 Organ

Mac Arnold made the journey from his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina to Chicago and hooked up with A. C. Reed which almost immediately led to a stint playing bass for Muddy Waters in 1967. After a long career as a sideman in other blues bands and on television shows (Soul Train), Arnold moved back south. He has now formed a new band and this CD is a result of that collaboration.

The opening cut of "Blues For You" sets the pace with a great bass shuffle for this downhome blues CD. The title cut of "Nothin' To Prove" is a personalized blues rap by Arnold about his longevity in the business with Hightower on captivating harmonica support. Arnold's vocals on "Call Mac Arnold" are particularly earthy and the guitar is bluesy to the max on this catchy tune. A highlight is "I Don't Know" on which Arnold draws out the lyrics with pungency and the pianist sensitively hits just the right key to add variety to the texture of this tune. The country blues tune "(Get On) Back To The Country" features a rhythmically supple harmonica solo. The latter tune is reprised as the last cut and a vibrant slide guitar accompaniment spices it up with Arnold's rawer than usual vocals. The Hammond B3 tastefully drives the Chicago-style "Ghetto Blue" and Arnold's vocal statement about playing with various blues artists such as Muddy Waters and Tyrone Davis. "The Truth" has an undulating melody and the upbeat tempo showcases an enthralling guitar accompaniment. On "She's Mean To Me" Arnold's engrossing vocals are controlled and keep pace with the shifting tempos laid down by the harmonica and guitar on this slow bluesy rendering.

The ten cuts are all originals and are intriguing as they seemingly relate to Arnold's life experience. This is an excellent offering with solid support by a group of seasoned musicians. Arnold has a muscular vocal style that knocks me out. If you like Muddy Waters, check this one out if only for the vocal phrasing.

by Dorothy L. Hill