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Cephas & Wiggins – Somebody Told the Truth 2002

Posted in BLUES, Cephas & Wiggins on November 18, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Cephas & Wiggins – Somebody Told the Truth 2002

Blues

The acoustic duo’s first album in three years doesn’t substantially alter the twosome’s established game plan. But its well-recorded mix of studio and live tracks — including one with a full yet laid-back band — shows them to be at the top of their form. Combining traditional Delta and Piedmont blues and gospel classics like Robert Johnson’s “Last Fair Deal Going Down” (a concert staple that finally makes it to disc), Blind Boy Fuller’s salty, suggestive “Something Smells,” and Skip James’ “Sick Bed Blues” with their similarly styled originals proves they are not stuck in the past, even as they revel in visiting and interpreting it. John Cephas’ “The Pimp in the Pink Suit,” with its cowboy chorus, could just as well have been written in the ’30s. Phil Wiggins shines on “Burn Your Bridges,” an instrumental showcase for his lip-shredding harmonica gymnastics that is as compelling as anything from the great Sonny Terry, an obvious influence. While the torchy, supper club jazz of “Darkness on the Delta” (featuring Tal Farlow on guitar) is an interesting tangent, it doesn’t really fit with the rest of the more roots-oriented material. But with their devotion to authentic ragtime, folk, deep blues, and religious music, Somebody Told the Truth is another uncompromising entry into Cephas & Wiggins’ exceptional catalog.
By Hal Horowitz.
**
As a rule John Cephas and Phil Wiggins aren’t dark-night-of-the-soul bluesmen, or even bluesmen in the strict sense. Which is to say that other kinds of traditional Southern genres also grace their repertoire, including ballads (e.g., “Darling Cora,” rarely covered by African-American performers) and gospel (Wiggins’s touching original “Forgiveness”). “Reno Factory,” first recorded on a Flying Fish album in the 1980s, puts rarely heard lyrics to the often-heard, Reconstruction-era folk song known variously as “Reuben’s Train,” “900 Miles,” and more.
The fun these guys are having through it all is palpable, and it’s infectious. This is African-American roots music at its most extroverted and celebratory. I have no doubt that Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry, two giants of Piedmont music and Cephas and Wiggins’s most direct inspiration, would have loved it. The tradition, it is clear, remains in good hands.
By Jerome Clark.
**
John Cepahs- (Vocals, Acoustic Guitar);
Phil Wiggins- (Vocals, Harmonica).
Additional personnel:
Tal Farlow, John Stewart- (Guitar);
Rob Thomas- (Bass);
Steve Williams- (Drums).
**
01. Stack And The Devil 3:35
02. Railroad Bill 5:09
03. Last Fair Deal Gone Down 3:47
04. Sick Bed Blues 4:33
05. The Pimp In The Pink Suit 2:26
06. Burn Your Bridges 4:04
07. Darling Cora 4:14
08. Forgiveness 3:18
09. Bowling Green Strut 4:32
10. Darkness On The Delta (Live) 4:38
11. Reno Factory 2:42
12. Somebody Told The Truth 2:21
13. Something Smells 3:56
**

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