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Monday, 15 August 2016
JAMES LEG – BLOOD ON THE KEYS (Alive Natural Sound LP, CD, D/L).
Coming on like a cross between Howlin’ Wolf, Suicide and a fire and brimstone Gospel/Blues shouter, the Reverend James Leg (aka John Wesley Myers of the Black Diamond Heavies and The Immortal Lee County Killers) releases his third solo album, Blood On The Keys, on Alive Natural Sound at the end of September. The son of a Texas preacher, Leg started playing piano when he was just six. Raised on southern gospel music, he began preaching at the church his father pastored at the age of 14. Two years later he became infected with the lure of rock-n-roll and eventually alcohol and drugs. It was this contrast of Good & Evil, Heaven & Hell that would affect not only his music…..solo and otherwise……. but also his impassioned live performances evoking some sort of fervid snake-handling Pentecostal preacher in the middle of a lung-busting, jugular-popping sermon (just replace the slippery vermin with a fifth of whiskey and Leg pounding on his signature Fender Rhodes and you get the picture). Continuing where his previous album Below The Belt left off, this new release is 10 cuts of furious Punk Rock Blues that has been described as “chunky, rowdy, classy come clanky piano progressions with Leg's satanic howl bouncing around the mix like Howlin' Wolf's third white cousin. The tracks are fleshed out with plenty meat on the bone for this effort, fiddle fills and strings, guitars and copious if not deadly doses of gravel Punk Rock. There is nothing like a Leg record and there never will be, no one plays like him, no one growls like him, and certainly no one rocks like him.”
Blood On The Keys is a blistering record combining Leg’s trademark gruff black snake moan with pounding Punk Blues on tracks such as ‘Human Lawn Dart’, ‘Hugging The Line’, the piano led boogie of ‘St Michel Shuffle’ with its early Tom Waits vibe and the awesome ‘Ain't You Hungry’ which transplants Suicide from arty NYC deep into the Southern swamps with growling keys and driving drums. However there is far more to the good Reverend than howling Blues Rock…………………there is a wonderful Gospel/Soul vibe running through Blood On The Keys with ‘I'll Take It’ and ‘Should've Been Home With’ having a classic Memphis soul feel and the album’s title track having a cool, churchy Ray Charles groove. Like the previous album, Below The Belt, this new album is a record that hits where it matters…….Straight to your heart and down to your pelvis. It’s the kind of music that ain’t always pretty but makes you feel good.
James Leg's Blood On The Keys is due for release September 30th on black vinyl or limited edition coloured vinyl, CD and digital formats via Alive Natural Sound Records. Available from all good record stores/on-line digital outlets and the Alive Natural Sound website, you can pre-order the digital download now directly from iTunes.