Austin Jimmy Murphy – Blues Salad: The Avocado Sessions, Part One
10 songs time – 43:15
Austin Jimmy Murphy presents a CD compiled from a 2012 4 CD box set he released in 2012 called A History Of Blues. It consisted of recordings between 1978 and 2008. I have no idea why it is called The Avocado Sessions. The current CD consists of 10 songs culled from that box set, all being full band material. Jimmy, being originally from the Syracuse, New York area, used musicians from that area. Several of whom I am familiar with from L’il Georgie & The Shufflin’ Hungarians, a band that had a New Orleans R&B slant. They took their name from one of Professor Longhair’s band incarnations. George Rossi himself plays piano on 4 tracks, drummer Mark Tiffault is on 8 of the 10, bass player Paul LaRonde on 1, and Frank Grosso plays horns on one track. Outstanding harmonica man Tom Townsley is featured throughout. Austin Jimmy supplies the strong vocals, as well as piano and bass. He also wrote 9 of the 10 songs, along with producing them.
Jimmy uses a blues voice affectation on “Goin” Home”, giving the tune a downhome blues feel. A good preview is given of Tom Townsley’s sharp harmonica technique along with Austin Jimmy’s piercing guitar attack. Their reading of “Saint James Infirmary Blues” is rather appropriately haunting via Austin Jimmy’s piano and guitar. Mournful harmonica over strummed guitar and snare drum highlights the intro to the slow and lumbering “Hey Brother”.
The jump blues of “I Ain’t Got No Money” features the piano stylings of George Rossi along with the horn section of Frank Grosso and John Kane. George Rossi brings along his lively piano to the occasion. Jimmy adds some classy hipster jazz guitar. What is a blues album without some sexual innuendo, I ask you? Try “Little Tiny Kitty Cat (I see your eye a peeping)”. Townsley’s harmonica and Rossi’s piano seem to pop out of the mix into your room.
Austin Jimmy dips back into his blues diction for “Oh Darlin'”. “Hey baby won’t you take a walk which me”. Townsley spreads his harmonica goodness all over this puppy. “My Baby Says She Loves Me” is a cool blues walk with guitar and harp over Rossi’s piano. The boys clock out with the less than two minute upbeat ditty “She Ain’t Nothin’ Like That”.
A nice helping of well played and conceived blues, who could argue with that? Austin Jimmy surely enlisted a first rate crop of players for these sessions. Although the recordings go back quite some time, they remain fresh and vibrant. This is an enjoyable listen for blues fans and just lovers of good music. Austin Jimmy currently lives in El Paso…Go figure.