Blood On The Keys – James Leg (Alive Naturalsound)
Let me start by saying I have been a Black Diamond Heavies devotee since I first heard a bootleg recording of their first album ‘You’re Damn Right”’ way back in 2005. When the latest album by James Leg (aka John Wesley Myers), vocalist, keyboardist and one half of that band turned up for review, I already knew what I was about to hear.
This is without doubt some of the rawest soul/blues/punk rock ‘n’ roll and coolest Fender Rhodes electric piano playing you’ll ever hear, along with the dirtiest Whiskey-smoked growl that has ever been put to tape. Yes, folks, this album is a winner. It’s dirtier and louder than most other things, and just fucking awesome. It’s the future, the past and present, all rolled up into a tight joint, ready to smoke, get high and just rock the fuck out. There are no disappointments here.
This is James’ third solo album, the follow up to “Solitary Pleasures” from 2014 and the masterpiece, “Below The Belt” ‘from 2015. James Leg is the son of a Texas preacher and was raised on Southern Gospel music. He took all that the church had to offer (musically speaking) and did the bunk, forming Black Diamond Heavies. They’ve released “ Every Damn Time”, “ Touch of Someone Else’s Class” and “Alive As Fuck” in steady succession. These albums are as wild as fuck and cannot be tamed highly. I recommend “Alive As Fuck” for the beginner
“Blood on The Keys” kicks off with the very tribal and rocking “Human Lawn Dart”. A swirling organ is backed by some pounding drumming from Matieu Gazeau. This song sets the pace for what’s to come.
“Hugging The Line” just rocks out. “Mighty Man” (originally done by Mungo Jerry) is one toe-tapping, head-banging assault with some string busting guitar picking from guest Ruben Glaser. He’s also heard on the track ‘”I’ll Take It”. “St Michel Shuffle” is a rolling shuffle with some violin and viola that brings this track to life. The strings are played by the wonderful Sylvia Mitchell.
“Ain’t You Hiungry” and “Doj Jaw (Do Some Things you Say)” are darker and moodier with some wonderful playing from Dr Johnny Walker (guitar) and Matt Ayers (percussion.) Yeah baby, this rocks
“Tao Te Leg”: What a groove this song has going. This is party music. It’s drinking, smoking, screaming and having one hell of a good time at 4am on a Sunday. It’s no sleep in sight music and just brilliant.
The title track is James at his best. This is not a gospel song, per se, but it has all the wonderful elements that the great Gospel songs have, building up slowly and raising the tempo and until it explodes with a fever. “Blood On The Keys” is all of that and I gotta say those vocals are just perfect. They sound like one part Screaming Jay Hawkins and another part David Johansen when he’s drunk as fuck.
So folks, if you like your rock ‘n’ roll dirty, this is the album for you. James Leg is a rock ‘n’ roll rebel and one helluva of a keyboard player.