Dennis Johnson & The Mississippi Ramblers – Rhythmland | Album Review

Dennis Johnson & The Mississippi Ramblers – Rhythmland

self release

10 songs time-35:21

The San Francisco based slide guitarist-singer Dennis Johnson presents a lively slide guitar based selection of songs that owes much to one of his biggest influences Roy Rogers. His three piece band ably supports him throughout during nine originals and one cover. His innovative slide technique makes for a very enjoyable and entertaining experience. His exuberant and intoxicating vocalizing adds much.

A jumpin’, energetic take on Robert Johnson’s “Walkin Blues” has his twelve string dobro sliding all over in a joyous fit. The Latin cascara rhythms of “Timbale” jell with the herky-jerky slide guitar and percussion. The slow and deliberate “Faith” is about having faith in one’s self. Craig Long contributes organ that gives a bit of a churchy feel.

Craig unleashes some rollicking boogie-woogie piano to enhance the “jitterbug” groove of “Fillmore Street”. Acoustic guitar is the sole accompaniment on the slow and melancholy “That Way No More”. Things get jumpin’ once again on “High Heel Shoes” a song guaranteed to get you up off yer “rusty dusty”. “My Love Is Here For You” sounds like an old-timey chestnut that you swear you heard before. Craig ups the ante with his lovely piano playing.

Dennis’ locomotive-like slide guitar powers the fast-slow “Southbound Train”, a atmospheric slice of blues. Craig’s electric piano is refreshing here. We even get an upbeat testament to protesting in “Revolution”.

Dennis and associates are surely destined for bigger and better things. His slide guitar is all over the place in a crazy gob of wonderfulness. It’s not all high energy, the guys can get slow and sentimental with the best of them when needed. This is another case of creating a lot of sound with just a basic band set up. The keyboards color things up while the rhythm section of drummer Tim Metz and bassist Jonathan Stoyanoff are there at every twist and turn. This guy is up there in the pantheon of outstanding purveyors of the slide guitar tradition. No museum piece this, the bands creativity breathes life into the music. You need this music.

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