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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

JJ Grey and MOFRO: Georgia Warhorse

Hear tell the Georgia warhorse ain't your ordinary bush cricket. According to those in the know there ain't nothing mamby-pamby about the revered, delicious, and nutritious Caelifera neither. You might not realize it just by looking but soul singer JJ Grey and the grasshopper have similar attributes. Grey, a ten-year plus veteran of the worldly music biz, has that gritty hang-tough attitude just like the storied insect. Both are legends of the south Georgia woods; they have well-developed survival qualities. Each April Jacksonville FL native Grey must mull over the books and wonder if he didn't break even for the year. But he and the warhorse keep coming at life because they don't know what else to do; you might say that Grey has looked the grasshopper eye-to-multiple-eye without a blink. Good thing for the rest of us they keep coming back. Grey's newest release Georgia Warhorse (Alligator) roils and simmers with sweet southern sweat, genuine Stax pop, and swampy blues. Undertows of indisputable soul churn about ready to envelop true music lovers in warm currents of sound. The early 70s sounding "All" is total Memphis straight from the heyday. On Warhorse songwriter Grey presents a solid case to join the selective ranks of esteemed Dixie writers such as Jerry Reed, Tony Joe White, and Otis Redding. No slouches in that bunch, no sir. The gospel sounding "Gotta Know" is one to have the wooden pews in church gently bending and creaking with the beat. "The Sweetest Thing," featuring reggae master Toots Hibbert, has one of the best breaks going just like a mid-range putt bends decidedly on the way to the cup. Yes! "Slow, Hot, and Sweaty" has you right there with sweat dripping behind your shades into your eyes while sashaying to your favorite beat. Warhorse picks up where Grey's successful predecessor Orange Blossoms left off. Georgia Warhorse was recorded in the Blossoms studio with essentially the same personnel and gear; not a bad way to go. Please don't expect an ensuing installment of Where are They Now? on VH1 for Grey. Not unless the grasshopper is ready to bug out too.

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