CD: 10 Songs, 43:16 Minutes
Styles: Jazz and Soul-Influenced Blues, All Original Songs, Ensemble Blues
Even though Mississippi’s Travis “Moonchild” Haddix earned his nickname “from his beaming presence on stage…his always-broad smile and energetic, sexy performances”, that descriptor has a dark, fascinating history perfect for the upcoming Halloween. According to occultists, a “moonchild” is a perfect soul, a homunculus, housed within a human body. Sorcerer Aleister Crowley had infamously tried to capture/create one of his own, with no success. Haddix may not be the flawless find Crowley had sought, but he’s nearly perfect at evoking a bygone era with his soul-influenced blues. On the mic, he speaks volumes with his understated crooning. Some may find it too dry, too conversational, but others like their soul vocals that way. Besides, if he belted out the words, who would pay attention to the wit hidden within them? Perhaps Travis’ greatest talent is his songwriting. It’s no wonder that in 2007, Travis’ single, “Dick for Dinner” from Mean Ole Yesterday was nominated Best Blues Song by the Blues Critic Awards 2007 Readers Poll – Contemporary Blues. Those who love laughs in their blues have come to the right place. On ten all-original numbers, he demonstrates why he’s still a master after more than thirty years.
According to his fact-filled corner of the Internet, “Travis Haddix began playing the piano at the age of seven in his home town of Walnut, Mississippi, located thirty miles south of Memphis, Tennessee. The turning point in his musical learning experience came when he was eight, when the legendary B.B. King came to Memphis and began playing daily at the studios of WDIA. Travis was awed by King’s guitar virtuosity and he hung around the radio station every day to learn all he could. Soon, Travis’ piano playing fell by the wayside and was replaced by the guitar, which he plays on stage and in the studio.” He’s received rave reviews from several print magazines and has toured Europe since 1982.
Along with Haddix on lead vocals and guitar are Ray DeForest and Ed Lemmers on bass guitar; Brian Hager on rhythm guitar, bass and one solo; Gilbert Zachary on keyboard; Don Williams on organ; Jeremy Sullivan on drums; and Bob Frank and Mike Calhoun on rhythm guitar.
The following song, the album’s opener, is notable for its honesty as well as its good humor.
Track 01: “Ugliness” – If there’s one thing yours truly is sick of hearing in blues songs, it’s about how beautiful everyone’s girlfriend/wife/paramour is. Not this lady, who’s far from lovely, but guess who doesn’t care? Not our narrator, and certainly not I. “She’s not a good homemaker. She can’t even cook. The way that woman make love to me, I don’t care how she look!” Finally, a song for the rest of us, the perpetual friends, the bridesmaids who are never brides – by chance. Every instrument is at its keenest here, from Haddix’s caressing guitar notes to Don Williams’ cascading organ chords. It should be on B.B. King’s Bluesville, for sure, but also the U.S. charts.
When it comes to the blues, some readers might think I only See What I Want to See. However, what I see in Haddix’s work is a man who has written the blues and soul upon his heart like Scripture. The more you listen to this album, the deeper it’ll sink into your spirit.