Big Creek Slim – Keep My Belly Full
Straight Shooter Records
CD: 13 Songs, 54:11 Minutes
Styles: Traditional and Contemporary Electric Blues, Ensemble Blues
In the opinion of yours truly, entertainment is food for the soul, and pop songs are potato chips. They may have salty language and a crisp beat, but once the flavor’s gone, all fans can do is pop more and more into their mouths – er, heads. Today’s top tunes don’t Keep My Belly Full. That’s why I love the blues, especially when they’re played as well as Big Creek Slim does. Readers, if you don’t know what the “.dk” on the end of Slim’s website means, you’d never guess he and his posse are from the land of the Little Mermaid – the statue, not the Disney film. Denmark may be their home, but their music is straight-up, vintage-style American blues. Slim (Marc Rune) sports a full, bushy beard and a full-bodied baritone that would make any of the classic masters proud. Some of his songs are a bit long, but no matter. Every note is red-blooded, raw and real.
This is Big Creek’s third CD, following 2015’s Hope for My Soul and the out-of-print Ninety-Nine and a Half from 2012 (available by download only). As high school and college students progress onward from their freshman year, by the time they’re juniors, they know what’s what. They’re upperclassmen, and Slim is definitely an upperclassman of traditional and contemporary electric blues: “The sound of the Delta blues carries me to a more primitive state of mind, and I get to cut the cheese out of my life, if you know what I mean,” his promotional materials reveal.
Going all-out along with BCS (vocals and guitar) are producer Peter Nande on harmonica; Paul Allen, Jr. on bass; Jens Kristian Dam on drums; Nathan James, Troels Jensen, and Ronni Boysen on additional guitars; Jensen also on piano and backing vocals; Kjeld Lauridsen on organ; and Miriam Madipira, Lea Thorlann and Pia Trøjgaard Fredfeldt on additional backing vocals.
Of the thirteen songs on the CD – five covers, seven fresh dishes, and one traditional entrée – these three originals are the meatiest, guaranteed to satisfy one’s blues appetite:
Track 02: “You Don’t Love Me” – Short and sweet, with a familiar beat, track two details an all-too-familiar problem: petered-out partners who just won’t quit clinging. “You don’t love me, baby. You don’t care. Still, you’re following me anywhere. I know you don’t want me, ‘cause you told me so. Now I’m begging you – let me go.” Our narrator’s tormentor sounds less like a lover and more like a prison warden. Fear not: Peter Nande’s hot harp will set everyone free.
Track 04: “Keep My Belly Full” – It’s what a good spouse is supposed to do, according to this CD’s title. “Hey, woman,” orders our ‘hangry’ protagonist, “keep your bad man’s belly full! You know I still ain’t out of strings to pull.” The acoustic guitar here is as insistent and twangy as Big Creek Slim’s metaphorical gut strings. PC? Not in the slightest, but it is catchier than the flu.
Track 10: “Cockfight” – In an instrumental hotter than a nuclear reactor during meltdown, Jens Kristian Dam’s drumstick-tapping actually sounds like two roosters clawing the dirt during their bloody bout. With a barroom 1950’s vibe and perfectly-pitched piano from Troels Jensen, this “Cockfight” has no losers. The winners are people who want to get down and boogie.
Big Creek Slim proves that, time and again, traditional blues are meant to Keep My Belly Full!