12 tracks; 52 minutes
Derrick Procell may not be a familiar name but he is a very experienced session man whose voice has been heard on many a commercial. Over the years he has produced Americana discs but here he turns his considerable vocal and instrumental skills to the blues on an all original set of material which is intelligent and witty. On eight of the twelve tracks Derrick collaborated with Terry Abrahamson who once won a Grammy for a song he wrote for Muddy Waters and has written a book on the blues. Derrick plays a variety of instruments including harp, piano and bass and is assisted in the studio by a large cast of musicians plus guest appearances by Bob Margolin, Eddie Shaw and Billy Branch.
Derrick has a great blues voice, quite like Gregg Allman or Delbert McClinton, ideal for songs like “The Wolf Will Howl Again” where Eddie Shaw shares the vocals on a song that celebrates the legacy of Howling Wolf with plenty of references to Wolf’s best-known songs. “The Eyes Of Mississippi” is a rolling blues in which Derrick plays everything except the Delta slide sounds provided by Bob Margolin. In a clever twist the ‘I’s’ in Mississippi become the ‘eyes’ that watch over our partners as Derrick points out that “In Texas they ain’t got no eyes, you run round all you please”, the song also helping to ensure that we all learn how to spell the tricky river/state correctly! The title track is entirely Derrick as he sings of the birthplace of the blues and how he came to the blues. “They All Find Out” is a witty and swinging tune about infidelity and the inevitably of being discovered, however careful you try to be while “Broke The Mold” tells of the Devil’s work in shaping humanity, driven by Derrick’s piano and Dave Steffen’s insistent guitar. “Sorry?” is great fun as Derrick admits that he has been a real rogue but… “Sorry? Baby, I ain’t sorry at all; I don’t regret a single thing of the things I can still recall”! The late BB King is cleverly recalled in the ballad “Who Will Tell Lucille” as Derrick wonders how the sad news will be broken to Lucille, Alex Smith playing some lovely BB-style guitar and “Don’t Waste A Wish On Me” is a country-tinged slow tune.
The four solo compositions follow similar paths: “Back In The Game” is a plea for divine intervention with some good harp work from Billy Branch and excellent slide from Bob Baglione who also plays on the rocking “Trouble Me No More”. Derrick plays everything except the guitar by Zoey Witz on “Ain’t Nuthin’ More About It”, a simple blues paying tribute to the love of his life. I am never sure why artists dub a track as a ‘bonus’; the one here “Too Much” is more in blues-rock territory and the only appearance of a dedicated bass player on the disc (Bob Runte), but otherwise fits quite well into the general feel of the album.
Overall this is an impressive album with solid blues playing and some clever songs. If Derrick decides to continue in the blues field he should do very well if this effort is indicative of his talent.