Rory Block - Shake 'Em On Down
Reviewed by Kevvy Kev
In this tribute to Mississippi Fred McDowell, Rory avoids the typical regurgitation of covers/adaptations of a treasured mentor’s classics, and instead presents an album that is a mélange of tributes, adaptations, and original compositions that bear the definite stamp of a titantic influence. The result becomes a gift and a celebration. In order:
1. Steady Freddy Rory starts off w/a bang, showing off her skills on the acoustic and slide guitar.
2. Mississippi Man Many will gravitate to this track; an autobiographical account of her meeting McDowell as a 15-year old. Powerful stuff.
3. Kokomo Blues Rory gives an old school classic a slicker, new-school treatment. The result is different; worth hearing for the new interpretation.
4. Good Morning Little School Girl A reimagining of the Sonny Boy Williamson classic, given the Rory treatment.
5. What's The Matter Now Lets some gravel out, and adds a second guitar track to fill out the sound. It’s all Rory; it’s All Good.
6. Shake 'Em On Down Fitting that on this track, she channels McDowell’s guitar work best. And she definitely knows how to make you Feel the vocals.
7. Worried Mind Rory shows off her voice on this one; in one of those displays that lets you know she’s Reaching for notes, so that when she hit ‘em, she Hits ‘em.
8. The Man I'm Lovin' Block adapts the classic "The Girl That I'm Lovin'" to fit the female geist, with the addition of a third chord and new lines.
9. Ancestral Home Showing off her talent in this original composition, McDowell-inspired song, Rory dips into the well of (possible) ancestral memories, music and feelings of her mentor.
10. Breadline The title refers to the Great Depression McDowell lived through, and draws parallels to today’s harsh economic climates. Another original that shows clear influence and love.
11. Woke Up This Morning Rory spares no feelings with this intense, Gospel-flavored offering.
12. Write Me A Few Of Your Lines Rory’s sustained, snarling vocals round out the album, accompanied by more expert guitar work.