Blue Jay Sound
11 tracks; 46:05 minutes; Suggested
Styles: Electric Blues, “Boogie Woogie Rhythm & Rockin’ Blues”
“How can this guy be this good and not be nationally and internationally festival-famous?” These words are rarely spoken by this reviewer and Blues radio show programmer about a new CD, but in the case of Reggie Wayne Morris, they are true. One can imagine the large number of CD submissions received by the few radio stations that actually broadcast Blues music over the airwaves. Way too many of them leave us lamenting, not lauding.
Typically, our number one complaint about an unfamiliar artist is “can’t sing.” Here, on Morris’s third release, Don’t Bring Me Daylight, the smooth vocals are first rate. Secondly, too many CDs sent to our “Blues” radio show are not “Blues.” Morris’s album avoids any criticisms on that front by providing solid contemporary Blues as one will hear.
Raised on his grandparents farm in Charlottesville, Virginia, guitarist/singer/songwriter Reggie Wayne Morris is now based in the Baltimore, Maryland area. He was reared on Gospel and Blues, learning the guitar at an early age from musical family members. Reggie’s up-tempo guitar style developed from listening to Jimi Hendrix and B.B. King and fusing their influences with his own unique approach to create his “Boogie Woogie Rhythm & Rockin’ Blues” that allowed him to tour Italy, France, Hawaii, and the U.S. with an appearance at Carnegie Hall as a “career milestone.” He has the distinction of being the only artist to perform at the Baltimore Blues Society Festival nine consecutive years, having the unique opportunity to be both the opening and closing act on one particularly memorable occasion.
This current release pays homage to the past by showcasing contemporary, witty and humorous lyrics that speak to listeners of today with all original songs composed by himself and Gerald “Gypsy” Robinson, with one track by Ceophus Palmer. Joining Morris’s guitar and vocals in the studio are: drummers Chuck Fuerte and Ezell Jones, bass players Vinny Hunter, Pete Kanaras, Chris Sellman, and Ray Tilkens, along with keyboardists – Mark Stevens and Bob Borderman.
Cleverly switching an old cliché (son of a blues “man”), Reggie kicks off his set with “Son of a Blues Fan.” It is right from the opening piercing guitar notes that listeners are introduced to real deal, modern sounds that are upbeat, full in production, and thoroughly enjoyable. Morris sings with aplomb, “I was sitting on my daddy’s knee; he was listening to ‘The Things I Used to Do’”. Meanwhile, Stevens’ organ is pumping the melody under Morris’s guitar, all propelled by Jones on drums and Sellman on bass.
Attention new “Blues” artists: it is still ok to play actual 12 bar Blues! If you need tutoring, just listen to “I used to have a Woman” with its authentic feel and theme. Stevens’ organ is again nicely utilized on “Sign My Check” as Morris invokes the humor in the lyrics and punctuates it all on swinging guitar. Reflecting some influence from fellow Baltimore area Bluesman, Charles “Big Daddy” Stallings, Morris brings smiles on a wonderfully bouncy “Another Can of Worms.”
The title track is another example of Morris’s clever turn of a phrase. When a lover is out for the evening with friends and running late, what is the absolute last thing the partner wants brought home? According to Reggie, “… bring it on home on time … don’t bring me ‘daylight’; you know I won’t understand!”
Slowing the tempo and pouring on the Southern Soul, Morris tells it straight about his devotion to his woman on “Ball & Chain.” Similar in musical style, “Too Many Cooks” echoes the familiar theme found in the old classic song “Too Many Drivers at the Wheel.”
Full of traditional sounds, this CD excels in expressing contemporary topics and issues by using bright new musical approaches. There is even a soulful ballad, “Meet Me,” and a surprising Reggae style on the closing “God Loves You.”
It is so refreshing to receive a new CD full of infectious passion, charm, and humor. With his knack for incredible, modern, real deal Blues music, Reggie Wayne Morris should soon be “nationally and internationally festival-famous!”