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Album Review

After years of playing bass with Chicago legends like Muddy Waters and Otis Spann, not to mention a stint in the Soul Train house band (he was also one of the show's producers) and a contribution to the theme of Sanford and Son, Mac Arnold moved back to his South Carolina home. But you can't keep a good bluesman down, and after his friends and neighbors kept asking him to perform, he put together his first band, Mac Arnold & Plate Full o' Blues. The musicians may be neighbors, but they're all first-rate players, and on their third album, produced by another Muddy Waters' alum, Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin, they range from folky love songs and country-blues to Chicago urban sizzlers and blues-rock shuffles. Arnold fronts the band with a warm, bluesy voice somewhere between Waters' shout and the low-down growl of Howlin' Wolf. He leaves most of the music to his bandmates, but they're up to the task. "I Ain't Sugar Coatin'" opens this up with a straightforward sardonic look at modern life, laying down the law to fathers who leave their families amidst rising prices and young men who wear their jeans so low you can see their underpants. Austin Brashier's guitar switches between rhythmic, fuzz-drenched chords and brittle lead lines. Margolin's lead guitar adds some fire to "Too Much," a blues-rock tune that sings the praises of a woman who's just too damn hot. Arnold's shouted vocal is full of gritty sexuality. Arnold's famous for his homemade gas can guitars, instruments that have a surprisingly rich sound despite their humble origin. He plays a killer hook on "Cackalacky Twang," a bouncy dance number then turns in a short, sharp solo that showcases the instrument's high but surprisingly rich, treble-drenched sound. Arnold then does Waters' "Screamin' and Cryin'' country style, with his weathered vocal and Margolin's acoustic guitar taking things back to their roots. The album closes with the instrumental "Swing Me Back Home," and Country Man has just done that. letting the boys in the band show off their chops with Brashier's aggressive, stinging guitar and Arnold's jazzy, inventive bass playing stealing the show. ~ j. poet, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Worth the Price

Some songs are better than others,but I got the whole album...they kinda grow on you..

Country Man, Mac Arnold & Plate Full O' Blues
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