Catfish Keith – Land of the Sky (2021)

Posted by Green on December 27, 2021as

320 | FLAC

Thirty six years and twenty albums into a career of writing, playing and recording guitar driven folk blues, East Chicago born Catfish Keith remains as full of life and spirit as he did on his Kicking Muld records debut. CK, here recorded solo at Luke Tweedy’s Flat Black studios, has a percussive picking guitar style and on the beat vocal that are instantly recognisable. Listen to the rhythm foot the metronomic guitar and falsetto croon on”Johnnie Mae”. Land of the Sky opens with a version of Jimmie Rodgers’ “Away Out On The Mountain” that titles the set. Catfish does a fine yodel as you’d expect on a Rodgers track and throws in some fine lead florishes over his steady as a train rhythm guitar. His version of Joseph Spence’s “Bimini Girl” just pops with guitar harmonics and some very lyrical string bends and snaps. Keith clearly enjoys getting into that Spence groove. Catfish’s Resonator Baritone guitar roars on Rev Gary Davies’ retelling of the story of “Samson and Delilah”. The spirited guitar and Keith’s voice rising from a whisper to a roar are especially fine on this track. “Little Bitty Bird” is a original that came in a dream after binge listening to The Carter Family for days. The melody and lyrics have a folk beauty like a infectious lullaby. Dirtier by far, on a big voiced 12 String is “Santa Claus Blues” written by Walter Davis. This melancholic song of loss and regret rattles and roars on Catfish’s angry 12 String. Similarly big voiced but with space and light is Keith’s 12 String “Sit Down On The Banks Of The River”. Sweet and soothing on a prototype Resonator ukulele is “Scoodle Oot n Doo”. That steady pulse is ever present but the playing and singing are gentle like a Folk Blues Carol singer. The bottleneck slide and guitar on “Red Nightgown” are just perfect and authentic, both soothing and the sound of the moonlight crossroads. With a touch of “Shake ‘em on Down”, “Bust ‘em Down” is a classic Blues and another infectious visceral performance. Catfish Keith’s “Dirty Mother For You” with some very John Lee Hooker guitar florishes is another rhythmic triumph. “Listen To The Mockingbird” is a traditional instrumental fiddle piece with tricky beat and some reflective playing. Leaving the best till last inspirationally church like is CK’s mystical version of Charlie Patton’s “Some Of These Days”. On a song of going away Catfish is just as impressive slow as he is when his, fingers fly. This is a real hairs on the back of the neck stuff, add some 78 crackle over the plaintive voice and the slowly picked bottle neck guitar and this is very much the real deal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *