The following is the Memphis Blues Society review of Brad Webb’s latest CD, “All Over Town”
‘All Over Town’
CD released 2013
Brad Webb & David Hudson
Memphis Blues Society Review
Memphis’ Brad Webb and David Hudson have emerged from Brad’s studio into the hot sunlight of Memphis holding in their hands the new CD ‘All Over Town’. It’s a good thing that they have emerged, too- because they probably have a gig to get to tonight! After listening to ‘All Over Town’, you’ll know why they’re a hot item in the blues clubs; their music is as hot and smoky as a Beale Street bar, and tangy sweet like a plate of ribs. Webb and Hudson have penned all-original tunes for ‘All Over Town’, several of which (as wellwritten songs do) will “stick in your head”.
Singer and harp player David Hudson is a vital part of Memphis’ blues landscape today. Through his years of fronting bands and living in the Blues, he’s become, “a spoke in the wheel” here in the Blues City. His singing is tinged with enough soul to remind you that besides just blues, Memphis is the home of Stax, Royal Studios, and Hi Records. Hudson’s vocals are punctuated by his tasty harmonica playing- blown through a mic and amplifier as well as acoustically. Brad’s a Certified Groovemaster, period. When the moment comes to “peel the paint of the walls” with a hot solo, he’s definitely there, but at the moment I’m referring to Brad’s rhythm guitar playing. “Laying back”, as it’s called, and providing a solid groove for the vocals to rest on is deceptively simple- not all guitarists are able to do it.
Getting way down in there between the drums and bass makes the groove, and allows the soloist or vocalist to present the song. This is called, here in Memphis, “greasy” by those musicians who are “in the know”.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m getting dressed and polished up before a party, I often crank up something hot to listen to: the title cut ‘All Over Town’ is the perfect rockin’ boogie song. Webb and Hudson swap strokes with guitar and harp as if they were the two cylinders of a V-Twin engine, propelling this fat groove down the road like a big old motorbike. ‘Uptown Woman’ laments a woman who’s living beyond her means… well she’s living beyond the means of her man, anyway. Never mind though, because she’s “looking good again tonight”. Beale Street veteran Earl “The Pearl” Banks helps out writing ‘Dog In Me’. A dirty-cool harp solo and a very “Memphis” bridge are highlights on this cut, as are the keyboards by Jeremy Powell. ‘Last Time’ is a barn-burner driven by Tony Adams’ expert drumming. The harmonica and slide guitar here is the stuff you’d come to Memphis in search of. I can’t wait to hear this live. ‘Country Road’ paints such a clear mental image through the lyrics and instruments that you might need to wipe the dust and bugs off your speakers. Hudson turns off the amplifier here in favor of an open, country-time acoustic flavor.
Brad’s foreboding, ominous guitar at the start of the CD’s sixth track makes ‘Trouble’ a fitting song title. It’s a dark blues like Elmore James had…things might or might not turn out okay. Either way, we as listeners reap the benefit. When the neon and bustle of Beale Street become too much, we retreat to the porch at home. Home cooking and acoustic instruments are the fare, as they are on ‘Biscuit Blues’. If you ever want to know if someone can really play, take away their effects and amps and give them an unplugged acoustic instrument; if they’re like these fellows, the soul shines through. ‘Let’s Have Fun’ urges us to a party that you’d be sorry to miss. In addition to some fine blues playing, the song lists some of the rowdy Memphis characters that will be attending the “hoo-dee-hoo”. Robert “Nighthawk” Tooms on clavinet is already there waiting for us to arrive! ‘Cigar Bill’ is the Zen-like testimony of a man who’s found the key to happiness: a good drink, a good woman, and playing the blues all night. Speaking of Zen, Bill Marshall’s laid-back drumming on this song makes me at one with the universe.
‘I’m Down’ takes you south of Memphis to Marshall County somewhere, where the kudzu obscures everything with a weird green carpet. It’s easy to get lost, because all the highway signs are too shot-up to read. Now the sun’s setting and you’re low on gasoline. Sam Parte’s drumming is hypnotic as the song drones through the hills. ‘Save It For A Rainy Day’ is the kind of song that will make you miss Memphis, even if you’ve never been. Hudson laments: “give you all my lovin’, but you save it for a rainy day!” Blow that harp until you feel better, ‘cause it’s sure working for us.
The musicians here on ‘All Over Town’ are not only among the best in the world, but also can bee seen (and heard!) in the clubs on Beale Street, throughout Memphis, and at the frequent jams hosted by the Memphis Blues Society.
The Memphis Blues Society