12 Tracks/Running Time 52:25
Transplanted Minnesotan Nigel Egg has released an unlikely Blues disk entitled, The Blues Is Personal. Born in the UK, Mr. Egg was active in the pre- 1970 London music scene as a member of Nexus. He jammed with Mott The Hoople and Supertramp before moving to the land of Purple Rain to study at the University of Minnesota. He taught harmonica and guitar, raised a family and worked a corporate gig for twenty-five years before returning to music full-time in the twenty-first century. His 2010 release was entitled Big Bang Baby Boom.
I didn’t say unlikeable. Though laid back throughout, the horn section, including Egg on harp, swings. Egg draws from his own songwriting well and splashes you with unique hooks that unlock Blues to Pop mysteries heretofore unknown.
Track 6, ” Occupy The Blues Museum,” is a teacher to student narrative: ‘I want to take you children, down to the Blues Museum, you’ll hear that Blues is the roots, of all the music that’s comin’ to be in.’ Just the inclusion of the verb occupy, politicizes the lyric handily. To encapsulate Egg’s bottom line is to suggest it’s time for the grey pony-tailed baby boomers to turn the music over to the kids, ‘so they can juvenate the Blues like Willie Dixon did.’
Another hook-laden composition by Mr. Egg is track 5, “Tax On The Blues.” The storyline suggests the origins and schedule of the this unfair Blues Tax. It chronicles the amounts paid by Blues royalty: ‘Willie Dixon had to pay about a million. Muddy Waters a million-four. BB King refused to pay a damn thing, got the jailhouse blues for sure. Robert Johnson managed to save his skin. He let the devil pay the tax for him.’ Irreverent and clever, the band steams toward simmer with a bluesy violin solo by David Stenshoel juxtaposed against the Teapotty Chorus’s (that’s what they’re called in the liner notes) vocal crescendo.
Track 10 “Music Man” is a stirring, heartfelt, son to father tribute that employs country blues guitar picking reminiscent of Mississippi John Hurt. The narrator reveals the qualities of his Blues guitar playing daddy. How he sang with soul in the clubs and bars, taught his son how to fish, fix cars, stay outta the bars and play the Blues better than him. This one might make you misty.
Nigel Egg released The Blues Is Personal to coincide with the 99th birthday of the late Willie Dixon. He passionately believes that Dixon revolutionized Blues songwriting and is determined to spearhead another Blues songwriting revival.
Don’t let the Alfred Hitchcock murder mystery cover art sway you. There are some good blues contained herein.