Mem Shannon: 2nd Blues Album

Mem Shannon is less effective as a vocalist than he is as a storyteller. On his aptly-named 2nd Blues Album (Hannibal/Ryko 1409; 53:48), the one-time blues-singing cabbie from New Orleans once again plays the role of wily observer of the human condition and social commentator; sort of a Will Rogers of the blues. And while some of the stuff is a little heavy-handed (particularly the dreary “One Thin Dime” and “Charity”), he does inject some humor and keen insights on “Down Broke” (about his beat-up car), “Say That Then” (about pickup lines heard in singles bars) and “Wrong People In Charge” (a political rant about injustice in the world). Mem’s playing is pure and his songwriting style is highly personal and real; directly from his heart to you without further adieu.