Diddley Squat Blues Band

Milk of Amnesia

Almost Famous Productions

Jim Cobb, guitar, resonator, harmonica, and vocals; Rodney Beal, bass guitar; Morris Eldridge, drums; Rick Sims, saxophones, jug, and kazoo.

This band hails from Texas and after winning first place in the Sonny Boy Society Battle of the Bands, opened the King Biscuit Blues Festival in 2004 to rave reviews. This is the second CD for the group, and all the cuts are Jim Cobb originals (one cowritten with Sylvia Carrell) except two penned by Rodney Beal.

Cobb handles all the vocals on this CD with a zesty tale-telling style. The opening cut, "A Hard Man Is Good to Find," is a jaunty jump-blues number. Throbbing rhythm is the background for the clever lyrics about the ill effects of drinking too much tequila on "Milk of Amnesia" with a staggering accompaniment by Sims on baritone saxophone.

"Man of Color" has a country-western melody, while swinging jump-blues is the theme for "You Are the Reason (for the Blues)" with Sims wailing on alto saxophone throughout the tune.

"Harley Fever" opens with the sound of a motorcycle starting up and leads into a shuffling guitar strumming session with Sims lending a hand on kazoo and jug. The drummer does a tasteful cymbal introduction to "$30 a Man's Blues Band," and the lyrics are colorfully descriptive about "another hit song by the $30 man," which is probably a personal statement!

With a spicy guitar solo, definitive drum support, and an awesome tenor saxophone interpretation "You Know Diddley Squat" relates to being overextended in life with your paycheck late and everything else falling apart.

My favorite tune runs for ten minutes and is clearly a standout. On "OCD Blues" Cobb growls out the vocals, the guitar sizzles, the saxophone honks, and a little harp is thrown in for good measure. A showpiece of slow, deep-grinding blues!

This eleven-tune CD is notable for the originality of the lyrics and the appealing saxophone styling which lends an excitable diversity to this effort. The level of musicianship is high, and these guys are tight in their orchestration on every tune. This is one well worth seeking out.

By Dorothy L. Hill