Shakedown Tim & The Rhythm Revue – Hard To Catch
Rhythm Bomb Records RBR 5835
11 songs – 44 minutes
Even though guitarist/vocalist Shakedown Tim Ielegams has been one of top performers in the blues scene of Belgium for the past 20 years or so, this debuts his new group, which successfully delivers a combination of jump, swing and boogie guaranteed to keep you on the dance floor.
Hard To Catch was produced by French guitar stalward Nico Duportal, a longtime fan of the blues being produced in the nation on his homeland’s eastern border, and released on the British Rhythm Bomb Records imprint. One of the bands he enjoyed most was Fried Bourbon, co-founded by Shakedown Tim and his harmonica playing partner, Steven Troch.
Fried Bourbon broke up after a decade-long run. When Tim – who’s shared the stage with James Harmon, Gene Taylor and other blues luminaries — launched his new ensemble, Duportal was eager to get them into the studio. This album is the result. The band creates a full sound with a four-man lineup that includes Bart Stone on tenor and baritone sax, Dennis Tubs on drums and Boss on bass. Duportal contributes guitar on one cut and backing vocals and percussion on others, and Joes Brands contributes maracas and shakers on another number.
The loping shuffle, “How Long,” opens the set of eight originals and three covers as Shakedown Tim wonders if the troubles plaguing the world today will ever come to an end. The arrangement is simple with Stone’s horn lines in full command until Tim’s mid-tune solo. He’s got a strong baritone voice and delivers his material in English with just the slightest of accents.
“Red Hair” swings from the jump atop a driving guitar rhythm as it describes a beauty that catches the singer’s eye from the stage and she can’t help noticing him staring. Tim’s single-note lead break shines as the action heats up with Stone’s horn. The band switches to a little Delta blues with the fishing song “Hard To Catch,” which comes across with sexual undertones.
There’s no mistaking the meaning of “Take Off Your Clothes,” a slow blues written by Donnie McCormack that features a beautiful horn intro, before the instrumental “Shakedown” comes across with a swinging feel that hints of T-Bone Walker and puts Tim’s guitar technique on display. Next up is a faithful cover of Junior Parker’s familiar “Feelin’ Good” set up with a spoken introduction about a visit to Red’s, the popular juke in Clarksdale, Miss.
The tempo slows for “This Ship,” a loping account of a boat adrift without a captain and about to go under, a metaphor for difficulties in dealing with problems in everyday life. “Wild Calypso Night” follows with a syncopated island beat before the catchy “Wiggle Wobble” describes the singer’s urge to dance every time he hears the funky beat. Another swinging instrumental, “Takin’ Off,” follows with more fine fret work before an extended version of “Feelin’ Good” serves as a bonus cut and brings the CD to a close.
Available through Amazon, Bear Family and other online retailers, Hard To Catch is a whole lot of fun, especially if your tastes run to jump and swing.