Big Joe and the Dynaflows — Rockhouse Party
Label: Severn Records
Release date: February 15, 2019
Agreeable from the very first beat, Rockhouse Party — the new album from Big Joe and the Dynaflows — proves that there is still truth in advertising. The band knows how to throw a party, alright. It all starts, of course, with the right guest list, and the assemblage by co-producers produced by Big Joe and Kevin McKendree is top-notch. The tracks feature Big Joe Maher, Tom “Mookie” Brill, Kevin McKendree, Yates McKendree, Robert Frahm, and Erin Coburn. They blend and support each other throughout, while each taking full advantage of their moments in the spotlight. (Erin Coburn’s guitar licks on “I’m A Country Boy,” andTom “Mookie” Brill’s vocals on “Eight Men and Four Women” are especially satisfying.) The generously clear mixing by Kevin McKendree deserves credit here.
Rockhouse Party reunites Big Joe Maher with Severn Records, the label that released his 2011 CD, You Can’t Keep a Big Man Down, 1998’s I’m Still Swingin’ (which won a Washington Area Music Association award for “Best Blues Recording”) and his 2000 release, All Night Long.
There can be no better test for the capability of my speakers than the second song on the collection, “So Mean To Me.” It’s a quintessential example of the blues. While it checks every box of what makes a great blues song great, it still finds a way to leave you wanting more. Surely this is due to Tom “Mookie” Brill’s tortured, underdog-in-love, performance. He gains your sympathy and never lets go of it until you have turned up the volume as far as possible. Then, without asking your permission, the lyric’s lesson to be learned repeats and repeats and the song is over. It’s enough to give you the blues, as only one of the best bands around can.
Big Joe is an artist, as well as a work of art, that’s for sure. How many drumming blues vocalists can you name? His vocals earn him instant authority, and his delivery earns him our trust. He’s also savvy enough to appreciate a damn good frame in the Dynaflows. They all come together in classic blues style, and it only makes Big Joe sound bigger and better.
Pre-order the album today and live happy from February 15th on.