Mississippi Mile is John’s third solo album, and a follow up to his 2008 release, 1,000 Miles Of Life CD (which I really liked). It’s always a concern for members of a successful act to change material on a solo effort, but John has the chops the drive, and the backing musicians to make it work. This release mixes some originals with some interesting takes on some classics, with a few pinches of blues, country and swing, and a splash of vintage H&O added for good measure.
The title track is an original, bluesy Cajun sounding number. John does a nice take on Curtis Mayfield’s; It’s All Right, giving it a bluesy/R&B treatment. Please Send Me Someone To Love shows John’s true individual soulful vocal quality. The Elvis classic All Shook Up takes on a slow shuffling blues hue, which I’m thinking may have been how the song was originally written. Pallet, another original has a true Southern blues vibe, as does Come Back Baby with some tastefully added Dobro and harp. Deep River has a down home backwoods feel to it, as does He Was A Friend Of Mine. A jazzed up, country swing thing version of You Make My Dreams Come True is a departure that works. My favorite cut is the soulful folksy cover of the Fraser & Debolt song Dance Hall Girls, accented by mandolin.
This Mississippi Mile venture travels down roads winding through early blues, swing, R&B, and early rock territory. This disc is a cool piece with variable speeds, and the best part is that the live band can really deliver them. A gig really worth catching. As for the blues flavoring as a departure, it’s a part of John’s early music career that led to R&B. And as John put it, “If you put an R in front of the word Blues, you have R&B!”