Teaming with longtime Teardrops Chris Biedron on bass and drummer Brian “B.J.” Jones, Holt enlisted guitarist Levi William and family friend and Chicago blues guitar legend John Primer to put together Daddy Told Me. The results speak loudly for themselves, the album a wonderful collection of inspired versions of songs written or popularized by Magic Slim alongside Holt’s own well-written originals.
The title track draws upon Chicago blues tradition while still sounding contemporary, the band cranking out a deep, driving groove atop which Holt layers on his gruff, growling vocals on a tale of romantic turmoil as the guitars grind and howl. Holt’s “Hold You Again” follows a similar template, matching muscular guitar-driven blues with an unrelenting rhythm. By contrast, Magic Slim’s “Buddy Buddy Friend” displays a playful side to the band, with spry vocals and less bruising, more intricate fretwork.
A cover of Bo Diddley’s “Before You Accuse Me” is an old-school delight, with John Primer’s swinging vocals and stinging guitar an undeniable pleasure while Holt’s “You Done Me Wrong” offers the perfect match of traditional and contemporary Chicago blues, whipsmart guitar and jaunty rhythms dragging the form into the 21st century. Bottom line: if you were a Magic Slim fan, you’re going to love Daddy Told Me! Grade: B+ (Blind Pig Records, released September 24th, 2013)
Buy the CD from Amazon: Shawn Holt & the Teardrops’ Daddy Told Me