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John Mooney: Gone to Hell

New Orleans guitarist John Mooney is an eccentric stylist whose specialty is roughhouse slide work delivered with a savage intensity. On Gone to Hell (Blind Pig 5063; 45:14) he kicks up typical rowdiness and roars in a blues holler that is eerily reminiscent of Clapton’s blues-soaked singing with B.B. King. Dr. John provides his signature ivory tickling on the funky “No,” the quintessential N’awlins rhumba-boogie of “That’s What Lovers Do,” on Leroy Carr’s “How Long Blues” and Mooney’s original boogie blues “Grab a Hold.” “Dry Spell Blues” and “Down South Blues” are two stirring interpretations of Son House’s Delta blues that reveal Mooney’s compelling command of the National Steel guitar. Other highlights: the primal hoodoo blues of “Funky Arkansas,” the swaggering, bad-ass “Indian Tea” and a rousing N’awlins-flavored rendition of Skip James’ “Cypress Grove.”

Originally Published