Karla And Too Bad Jim | Album Review

karlaandtoobadjimcdKarla And Too Bad Jim


self release

12 songs time-39:50

This dynamic acoustic blues duo from Kansas City brings an authenticity along with an energetic approach to the old time blues. With Jim Herbert’s mastery of National and acoustic guitars and Karla Peterie on washboard and mandolin they make plenty of music without any outside help. They both provide vocals separately and together. Jim has a great blues whine in his voice that lends a nice hokey sound to the delivery. That is certainly a compliment. His guitar playing has just the right amount of casualness and looseness to fit in with this repertoire. Karla contributes a voice with a nice rootsy twang. They exhibit the same simpatico musical sound whether it be a cover or an original song. Fifteen years of playing together will do that to ya.

Jim’s melodic National slide guitar under Karla’s lovely mournful vocal on Reverend Robert Wilkins’ “That’s No Way To Get Along” gets us started on our stroll down the dusty blues road. Jim’s delivery makes Gus Cannon’s “Poor Boy Long Ways From Home” sound like his version is itself from the early twentieth century, easily.

On Skip James’ “Crow Jane” Karla shows here as elsewhere on this record how well she delivers a song usually associated with a male vocalist. Her singing just flows so naturally. The first of three originals, “Last Piece”, has Jim on acoustic backed by Karla’s mandolin. Karla’s composition “What Would I Do” is rootsy in the Woody Guthrie style, with her on mandolin and Jim on slide.

The twosome join voices on “Deep Elem”, a song often associated with The Grateful Dead, but it’s erroneously given writers credit to them here. It’s actually a traditional blues. The mandolin and guitar ring out nicely here. Jim’s voice does have similarity to Jerry Garcia’s. Karla gives an authoritative reading “Rollin’ And Tumblin”” as Jim’s National guitar slips and slides at break neck speed over Karla’s washboard scrubbing.

Brownie McGhee’s ode to perseverance, “Life’s A Gamble”, is given a breath of life. The original “Nice Guy Lousy Husband” is a humorous, authentic sounding hokum song done as a duet. “Exactly Like You” is an old-timey foot tapper where the duo trade verses against some lively acoustic pickin’. The program finishes off with “Hallelujah Joe”, a tune by Kansas City Joe McCoy And The Harlem Hamfats, featuring some background shouting. It’s another good timey, old timey number.

No revelations here, just some well done versions of some old acoustic blues songs delivered by two talented folks. Sit back, kick off your shoes and transport yourself to an imaginary front porch somewhere in the deep south and crack open a couple cold ones.

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