Mike Kindred with Dexter Walker


Loudhouse Records, USA - CD

         If you are ready for some down-and-out, filthy dirty piano blues from an accomplished duo, Kindred and Walker can provide that very thing. Mr. Kindred's adroit intros to the otherwise decidedly gutbucket "Cover Story" and "Call Boogie" show he has chops he isn't showing. Well, nobody ever said an artist has to use every trick he has.

         By the way, there's no such thing as a real piano/drums blues duo. Kindred proves me right in that he has one hand ably covering the bass function and the other skittering in all the other right directions. The vocalist isn't credited (I assume it's Kindred) but he has that Henry Vestine/ Dr. John rasp and he can pen those suggestive lyrics ("Pass me by if somethin' steady's what you need/ I got a feelin' you gonna find my love incomplete..." Amos Blakemore, call your office!). That last was "Pass Me By," a Kindred original and a very convincing one at that: are we sure this guy isn't  about ninety as opposed to the midforties his photo suggests? You know how those old bluesmen just keep getting better. Ask anybody who ever saw Honeyboy Edwards.

         To continue, Walker (a very steady drummer with a sense of humor and a laser-pointer idea of where the beat is) and Kindred provide a funky rendition of the Elmore James/Marshall Sehorn medium-tempo grinder "Can't Stop Lovin" (now I know where Led Zeppelin snagged most of "I Can't Quit You Baby" from), and a brace of jouncy instrumentals, such as "Main Stem" and "Riverboat" (we knew that was coming).

         No, there aren't a lot of Jazz checkmarks to be found on Handstand but if it wasn't for this great stuff, we would never have heard of Illinois Jacquet.

         Oh, yes, and as a last note: "The Cow's Advice" (another Kindred original) is advice worth taking ("Boy, hold her close an' treat her right!... Counsel taken from an unlikely source/ but the udder truth don't come from a horse"). Even a caveman like me knows that. Very cool.

(Note: Lyrics published by Hardcase Music BMI)

by Ken Egbert

Back to: August 2005 Vol. 15 No. 4 Table of Contents

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