Rott’n Dan And Lightnin’ Willy | Album Review

Rott’n Dan And Lightnin’ Willy

self release

10 songs time – 32:13

This is the first outing for the Canadian acoustic duo of Rott’n Dan Shinnan and Lightnin’ Willy Ryan who deliver blues in Pre-War, Piedmont and Country Blues styles. Dan on harmonica and Willy on guitar with both taking turns on the vocals. The harmonica is up front with Willy vamping behind on acoustic guitar, often playing unison lines. Dan’s harp playing is exuberant to say the least, at times sputtering around like a Whirling Dervish. They do justice to five covers.

Mississippi John Hurt’s “I’m Satisfied” is probably more familiar to listeners as done by Taj Mahal as “Satisfied And Tickled Too”. It skips and bounces along at a jaunty pace. Willy takes the vocal here. The original “My Belle” features Dan’s husky pipes. Willy’s guitar follows the harp at every twist and turn. Willie again takes vocal chores on “Coliseum Station Blues”. Harmonica dominates here as on most of the songs.

Willy penned the instrumental “The Lightnin’ Rag”, largely played in tandem at break neck speed. The pace eases up with Blind Blake’s “You Gonna Quit Me Blues”.  “Lead Water Blues” captures the old time country feel just nicely. Both guys sing “100 Days Or More” in unison. The old blues lament “Delia” by Blind Willie McTell is taken faster than it usually is. Over the years it’s been covered by David Bromberg, Roy Book Binder and Bob Dylan among others.

“Good Gravy” from Sonny Boy Williamson I is a rag featuring fast paced harp playing and whoopin’ ala Sonny Terry. “Mercedes Benz” is supposedly Janis Joplin’s song done instrumentally, but strangely bares no resemblance to the song.

The duo formula varies in tempo with the harmonica always the focal point instrumentally with Lightnin’ Willy’s guitar in hot pursuit. A great find for the acoustic blues aficionados out there.

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