John Greyhound Maxwell – Even Good Dogs Get The Blues
12 songs time-43:56
John Greyhound Maxwell from Washington state combines his warm, inviting voice with his amazing acumen at acoustic slide guitar playing. His accompaniment is minimal, employing the occasional harmonica, piano, upright bass or violin. It’s his deft slide work that shines here. Try not tapping your foot when he gets moving on the strings. He surely makes it sound so easy and smooth.
The original “Bus Drivin’ Man” and Ma Rainey’s “Yonder Come The Blues” in particular highlight John’s warm and rich voice. The Ma Rainey song evokes musicians playing on the front porch for their own enjoyment. On these two tunes as well as elsewhere he jumps back and forth between finger-picked and slide guitar with a breath taking ease. Without the benefit of liner notes you would be hard pressed to differentiate between his originals and the covers of old time blues as his own tunes capture that era and ring of authenticity.
The self penned “St. Louis Women” with its’ interplay of guitar, violin, harmonica and upright bass give the song an old timey feel. Blind Alfred Reed’s “How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times And Live” from 1929 will be familiar to many listeners from Ry Cooder’s classic rendition. Here the song is stripped down to just John’s magnificent guitar set against his inviting voice.
The three original solo guitar instrumentals vary from the spritely rambunctious sliding guitar of “Bella’s Romp”, the Roy Book Binder-ish finger-picking of “Capturing The Humility Vote” to the moody and pensive slide of “Salish Sea Slide”. “Humility Vote” is much in the style of Roy Book Binder with its’ thumping bass line and simultaneous melody.
Tampa Red’s “Things About Coming My Way” personifies the old timey blues. “My Town” finds the vocal in perfect unison with the guitar on another fine Maxwell song that speaks to the simple pleasures of small town existence. John rides out into a beautiful delta sunset with a melancholy version of Charlie Patton’s “Some Of These Days I’ll Be Gone” featuring the loveliest guitar playing this side of heaven.
I find in this recording a wondrous and rare gem were John’s mellifluous vocalizing melds with his gifted guitar styling’s.