I love it when the title of the record describes precisely what a recording is. “The Skinny” is a term, mostly used in the blues world describing what is real, or to be more exact, the “Real Deal”. It does not stop there either. Even the band’s name describes exactly what is contained within this collection of eleven brilliantly written and performed tunes.
Backing up Mr. Siegal, the listener’s ears will be blessed with the fine musicianship. You see, back in 2010 Ian Siegal left the UK and traveled with his guitar and that incredible voice of his, intended to sing the blues, to the North Mississippi studio of the late Jim Dickinson. This journey resulted in the recording of this tasty treat for the ears with drummer/percussionist/bassist/producer Cody Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars and son of Jim), guitarist/bassist Garry Burnside (son of the late R.L.), guitarist Robert Kimbrough (son of the late Junior) and drummer Rodd Bland (son of Bobby “Blue”). Hence, the “youngest sons” of their celebrated fathers. Finally, Alvin Youngblood Hart (guitar, vocals), Andre Turner (fife, vocals), Duwayne Burnside (drums and grandson of R.L.) and Quintez (drums) complete this amazing cast of musical rebels.
Mr. Siegal explains, “…it was pretty unique and unlike any previous recording I’ve done. I always like to do things a little ‘on the fly,’ but this was another level! With so little preparation time, no one involved had heard any material before we met on day one at the studio…once we started playing, developing grooves and ideas, it really got cooking. To have the legacy and history that comes with members of the Dickinson, Burnside, Kimbrough and Bland families was such an honor. Cousins, brothers, wives, girlfriends and kids dotted around us as we played in a real family atmosphere. Cody’s mother, the lovely Mary Dickinson, told me how the North Mississippi bluesmen tended to be more settled than their itinerant Delta contemporaries. I had a blast recording with the guys – incredible, instinctive musicians, not to mention producer and engineer.”
You can mark my words; the listener will be captivated from the very first note played on the very first title track, “The Skinny”, all the way through track eleven, “Hopper (Blues for Dennis)”. It never strays away from its approach always remaining on course. They never try to incorporate other genres into the mix; it [the music] is just like my whiskey when I used to drink -Straight-up!
Every tune on this album was penned by Mr. Siegal, save for “Stud Spider”, which was written by Tony Joe White. Its obvious Siegal was heavily influenced – hell – he was somehow transcendentally born of the Mississippi Delta – where this particular brand of the blues emerged way back. The UK was just happens to be where his physical body was born.
I have been inundated with great album after great album this entire year, making it impossible in the next month or two to come up with a top 10 list, instead forcing me to at least come up with a minimum of a top 20 list. I am not sure that is fair to so many great artists I have had the pleasure to hear this year.
One thing is for certain though, Ian Siegal and the Youngest Sons, “The Skinny” most likely has worked its way into my top 10 if not the top 5 best records I have so far heard this year.
Ian Siegal and the Youngest Sons, “The Skinny” was released on October 25 on Nugene Records.
‘Rebel’ Rod says you’re just musically ignorant if you do not check this bad boy out!