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October 2006

Mac Arnold and Plate Full o' Blues
Nothin' to Prove
Plantation

A grizzled veteran of the fabled ’60s Chicago-blues scene who played bass for Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and Otis Spann, 64-year-old Mac Arnold fronts a group of eager youngbloods on this real-deal outing.

Singing with leather-lunged gusto and old-school authority, Arnold enlivens raucous roadhouse originals like “Blues for You,” the shuffling “Going Back Home” and the earthy slow blues “Nothin’ to Prove.” On the autobiographical “Ghetto Blue,” Arnold is credited with lead vocals and “life experience.” And on the sparse “(Get On) Back to the Country” he wails with field-holler intensity alongside Rudy Wyatt’s rolling piano and Max Hightower’s countrified harmonica. Guitarist Austin Brashier, an outstanding soloist, reveals a strong Albert King connection with his string-bending licks on “The Truth,” then goes for a busier Buddy Guy-ish approach on the slow blues “She’s So Mean to Me,” the lone song here on which Arnold also plays bass.

The collection closes on a rousing note with a live version of “(Get On) Back to the Country,” which features some raw slide-guitar work from Hightower. Highly recommended to help get your mojo workin’.

Originally published in October 2006
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