CD Review – Memphis Gold “Pickin’ High Cotton”
Even though Chet “Memphis Gold” Chandler primarily plays either an acoustic or clean hollow body guitar on his new release Pickin’ High Cotton, you could still categorize the music as heavy. He kicks off the album by declaring “if you ain’t never had to pull no corn, if you ain’t never had to slop no hogs, and if ain’t never had to pick no cotton, you don’t know what the blues is all about, put your guitar down cause you aint never had the blues” on the heart wrenching march “How You Gonna Play the Blues,” Next Gold pleads the case of all African Americans on “Don’t Take My Blues Away,” sounding as if he stepped out of a Lomax recording form the depression. The relentless two beat stomp of the title track is a loving tribute to “Smokestack Lightnin’”featuring Robert Lighthouse on mournful slide guitar and Gold howling like the Wolf himself. The album hits its deepest point with “Homeless Blues,” with Gold giving personal testimony of life on the street thru this classic slow blues lament. His simple resolute chorus “if it were not for the grace of God, you’d be homeless too,” will stir the souls of believers and non believers alike. Gold is joined by Jay Summerour on harp for the historical juke shuffle “John Brown,” telling the tale of the abolitionist’s fate.
This third release from Memphis Gold since his nearly fatal accident in 2008 shows an artist dedicated to the preservation of deep grooves and roots of traditional delta blues.
Rick J Bowen