View Full Version : Honeydripper

Michael Jefferson
2.28.08, 11:11 AM
http://rcm-images.amazon.com/images/P/B00114XM22.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00114XM22/w3pgcoffeeroomss) Honeydripper
Soundtrack (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00114XM22/w3pgcoffeeroomss)
3.5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed for Coffeerooms by Mike JeffersonDirector John Sayles’ latest film, “Honeydripper,” is set in an imaginary Alabama roadhouse in the early 50s, when rock n’ roll was taking root and the electric guitar became a dominating instrument. The songs in “Honeydripper” are Hollywood blues — Instead of Charlie Patton or Big Bill Broozy, most of the music is made by actors playing musicians (Danny Glover) or musicians pretending to be actors (Mabel John). But Sayles didn’t get to be a successful director by cutting corners, so he also wisely enlisted current artists who can exist in the moment (Keb Mo, the New Beginnings Ministry), while mixing in legends who recorded in or around that period (Memphis Slim, Hank Williams). The result is another winner in the Rhino Records catalogue.
“Honeydripper” comes out swingin’ with “Honeydripper Lounge” by the Aces of Spade. It’s barely over a minute long, but sets a high standard for what follows. It borrows the jump blues energy of Big Joe Turner’s “Honey Hush” with low-lying, guttural sax, tinkling piano, and has a punchy sax duel between Billy Novick and Gordon Beadle. A second instrumental, “Tall Cotton,” dwells in the realm of down home southern roots music. Mike Turk’s mournful blues harp blows slow and easy, like a sharecropper laboring on a hundred degree day. Turk picks up the pace, and the bare feet start stompin’ on the porch. Turk’s playing takes on shades of harpists yet to come — Magic Dick, Paul Butterfield, Brownie McGee and Little Walter. And how about Tim Jackson on jug for percussion?

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