I would be hard pressed to tell you of any band that I have reviewed in the past several years that I personally enjoy more than the Austin Texas based Joe Richardson Express. At the very core of Richardson and Company’s excellent recordings lie the expressive guitar and genuine earthy vocals of Joe Richardson. Richardson and the Express have never played just to show you how fast their hands can move, and as I have reported before, they get more out of what notes they play than most every other band I have ever heard. They have somehow managed to take a very simplistic approach to music and create a truly original and beautiful sound.
For his latest release “Stripped Down”, Joe Richardson steps out from the Express with not only a solo effort but one which is comprised of just Richardson’s voice and acoustic guitar, primarily played with slide. This would seem on the surface to be a bit of a risk, given the popularity of his two previous releases, but it turns out to be a stroke of genius instead. The end result is that Richardson has created a delta flavored, black gospel inspired acoustic masterpiece.
From the opening track “Killin’ In The Name of the Lord”, this recording is absolutely spellbinding. Richardson’s vocals are so real and genuine that you feel like he is sitting on your backporch on a hot summer’s night as these tales in song unfold before you. The songs are all original tracks, with “Lonely Times” being written by Richardson’s father some 15 years prior. They are primarily delta style blues (natural for a man born in the Louisiana delta), country blues, with several tunes containing an almost African-American spiritual quality.
If you are moved by the passion and power of the human voice (a trait that drew many of us to the blues in the first place), then you are going to enjoy this remarkable recording. Like the artist himself, this recording is very honest, original, straight forward, and real. Little wonder I am such a fan of his and of blues artists in general.
“Stripped Down” is available directly from the official Joe Richardson Express web site at www.joerichardsonexpress.com .
Joe Richardson-guitar and vocals
1. Killin’ In The Name of the Lord, 2. Whacha Tryin T’Do, 3. Lonely Times, 4. I’ve Got One Thing, 5. Little Joey Got A Guitar, 6. The Leprechaun, 7. Never Get Over You, 8. Killin’ Ground, 9. I’ll Be Goin’ There, 10. Shout It Out Loud, 11. Prayin’, 12. Front Porch Blues
2003 Viewpoint Records
The Joe Richardson Express
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