Mississippi MacDonald – Do Right, Say Right
Another Planet Music Ltd.
London-based soul and bluesman Mississippi MacDonald has spent time at Al Green’s church, he’s hit the Memphis studios, paid homage to the birth and burial places of many a great blues man, and he is a student of the blues and soul music. He even helped secure a marker for the previously unmarked grave of O.V. Wright. Thrice nominated for British Blues Awards, he now has seven albums under his belt. The newest one here from 2021 is a fine album of original tunes and the one, final cover track.
MacDonald handles the vocals and guitar. Phil Dearing adds keys and guitar, Elliot Boughen is on bass, Mark Johnson-Brown plays drums and Lucy Dearing adds backing vocals. The album was recorded and produced at I. Sound in London by Phil Dearing.
The album opens with “I Was Wrong” with a heavy dose of organ, synthesized horns and guitar. MacDonald sings with passion, the guitar licks invoke memories of B.B. King and the overall sound is tight. “I Heard It Twice” has some more delightful and soulful blues to savor. The vocals are strong, the guitar picking is well done, and the organ work is solid. He sings about his woman not liking his blues, having heard it twice…the first time. Next is “It Can’t Hurt Me,” another midtempo soul blues with a nice guitar intro. He warns the backdoor man intruding on his love life as he sings with passion and grit. The guitar expresses the same emotion as his vocals as he attacks the strings. “Drinker’s Blues” follows, a slow and expressive blues that gives his testimony along with some slick backing vocals, piano and organ giving the cut a bit of a Gospel tinge. “Let Me Explore Your Mind” is some more nice, slow and sultry blues to savor.
“That’s It I Quit” follows, picking up the pace a bit with tongue in cheek lyrics about the trials and tribulations of a blues music career. MacDonald enjoys himself as he delivers his licks and lyrics. More slow and greasy blues are delivered in “If You Want A Good Cup Of Coffee,” another slow and simmering pot of four bar blues Joe. MacDonald continues in this vein with “Keep Your Hands Out Of My Pocket,” another slow and mournful blues with a warning not to tell his woman to leave and not try and rip him off anymore. The final number is a Denise LaSalle song delivered in a manner similar to Little Milton’s cover of the song. He warns fellow adulterers about their cheating spouses in another fine, slow blues as he and the band deliver another fine performance.
You can hear the influences of guys like O.V. Wright and Little Johnny Taylor in MacDonald’s music. He has certainly been schooled well. If I have one small complaint about the album it would be I was hoping he’d pick up the pace and let it all hang out for a song or two, but other than that minor bit I think the album is a fine and expressive set of tunes showcasing soul blues from the other side of the Atlantic. Oliver “Mississippi” MacDonald is a great singer, songwriter and guitar player who knows his stuff. I’d not heard him before and look forward to hearing his other stuff and I hope to be seeing him perform live someday!