The freshly indelible duo of the ol’ general, Hezekiah Early, and Robert Lee (Lil’ Poochie) Watson sparkle bright on their latest release on Broke & Hungry Records, Natchez Burnin’.Borrowing its title from the great Chester Burnett song if you added the ‘g’ to burning or perhaps the Greg Iles novel, either way Natchez Burnin’ is not light on flame, in fact it’s nearly as hot as any performance Chester “Howlin’ Wolf” Burnett might have set off in Memphis or otherwise.
Robert “ Lil’ Poochie” Watson’s swampy guitar licks guide the record like the single beam of a cross country steam engine headlight with ‘Kiah Early laying the rhythm on his drum kit like the propulsory clickety-clack of steel and treated wooden rails, all the while adding supple layers of harp and a couple songs on his very own homemade guitar. Watson comes out of the gate like a caged junkyard Rottweiler raised heavy on Hill Country licks and backyard boogie, quite the contrary to his nickname, like a fat kid called slim or a short kid called stretch. Simply one of the best REAL blues records in years, the type you put on for a spin and get through 3 times before you’ve even realized it. A true tin-type snapshot of pre-war blues captured live in a matter of days by Jeff Konkel and company at Broke and Hungry, clinging onto smatterings of r&b, brick house funky soul, and true-blue rock-n-roll in true Natchez, Mississippi fashion. Side note: check out Jeff Konkel’s web series “Moonshine & MoJo Hands: The Mississippi Blues Series”
Natchez legend Hezekiah Early is a decorated drummer, singer, and harp blower. Starting out as Hezekiah and the Houserockers and moving on to another (at one time) dynamic duo with the just passed, late, great Elmo Williams – they released a beautiful record on Fat Possum Records titled Takes One To Know One and were staples on the blues festival circuit up until the latter handful of years or so, for reasons I’m unaware. Watson, also an Elmo Williams friend and frequent collaborator, was always in the mix one way or another and deemed only a natural progression to partner up for a real studio record. Poochie boasts a voice as smooth as butter on your cornbread and licks as jangly as a forked steel wind chime. You can’t tell whether he’s coming, going, or turning around, and that, my friends, is the pure perfection…get involved! (No Depression: 6/3/16)