Thursday, December 31, 2009

Whoa! Man! Jesus! - Must I Holler?

Whoa! Man! Jesus!

Must I Holler

Review by Georgetown Fats

I have a dirty secret I need to share. I don’t get the whole Bob Dylan phenomenon. The ‘Bob Dylan gene’ was not included in my genetic make-up. I do not get the vibe, the music, or the people who will pay lots of money to see a somewhat incomprehensible diva strum away at his guitar and mumble away poetry. In fact I often find myself chuckling both internally and externally when someone sits in with my own band and wants to know if we know any Dylan material and then cringes as we all chuckle at the prospective jammer. In fact, it was not until I was exposed to Boston’s own Whoa! Man! Jesus! that I had to potentially rethink my ‘Anti-Dylan’ stance.

Must I Holler opens with “O Rosalyn”, a Wayne Rhodes original. The band uses sparse instrumentation to great effect in their trance blues sound. Rhodes hammers on the riff, while Julian Jefferies offers understand slide work to compliment Rhodes guitar work. Drummer Jason Beek holds it all together by offering a rock solid drum groove, at no point does the band miss a bass player.

On “Jesus was not American” another original written by Wayne Rhodes, Rhodes puts both those who use religion as a crutch and the deeply xenophobic in his crosshairs and fires away. It is a convincing and thought provoking tune.

Bukka White’s “Shake ‘em on Down” is approaching the “Stormy Monday” or “Mustang Sally” for the Deep Blues set. Whoa! Man! Jesus! still manage to do the tune justice with their minimal arrangement. Jason Beek’s vocals while Rhodes rides that one signature guitar riff are accented by Jason Beek’s drum groove and Julian Jefferies lead guitar work. Again due to the level of instrumentation going on there isn’t a lot going on within the track but the drum groove and both six string guitar lines are only there to advance the tune. It is a risky cover version of a classic which has been done properly by the trio.

Probably my favorite cut on the disk has to be “Your Jesus Doesn’t Rock”. Again the combination of the droning guitar hook and Rhodes’ Dylan-esque vocals prove to be infectious.

As mentioned previously, none of this is not to say Whoa! Man! Jesus! is yet another Dylan knock-off or cover band, it is just the the inescapable reality of vocalist Wayne Rhodes has similar vocal tones to Dylan but he is much more coherent and audible and backed by a far-more interesting band.

Whoa! Man! Jesus! are the equivalent of if Bob Dylan took the marbles out of his mouth and spent some quality time down in the Mississippi Hill Country backed by an established trance blues band. Whoa! Man! Jesus! tunes are not for the “musically ADHD’ but they are a band worthy of respect and repeated spins of their disk Must I Holler.

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