New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers
Stony Plain 2021
Review by David Bowling
The New Moon Jelly Roll Rockers are a long lost and brief super group consisting of Charlie Musselwhite, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Jimbo Mathis, the late Jim Dickinson, Luther Dickinson, and Cody Dickinson. During 2007, they gathered at Jim Dickinson’s ranch. They just sat in a circle and played and sang into microphones set in front of each person. Two albums worth of material was recorded at these casual sessions. The tapes were lost for over a decade, mainly due to Jim Dickinson’s passing.
I reviewed the New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers first volume last year. Now Volume 2 has been released. Many times, a second volume of music from the same sessions is inferior because the better material has already been released. This is a rare occasion when the second volume is better than the first.
First, the material fluctuates between classic blues and rock and roll, and even an old jazz piece. They all benefit from the simple approach of the band. Second, the sound is surprisingly good for the type of recoding session as each voice and instrument is distinct.
Three rock songs are transformed in a blues direction. Charlie Musselwhite’s “Black Water” and “Blues For Yesterday,” plus Doug Sahm’s “She’s About A Mover” highlight The album as the songs take on new structures far from their rock roots.
Classic Blues is well represented. Jimmy Reed’s “Can’t Stand To See You Go,” Junior Wells “Messin’ With The Kid,” and The Mississippi Shieks “Blues Is A Mighty Bad Feeling” may have a modern sheen but at their foundation, they are straight from the Southern Delta.
Charlie Mingus’ “Oh Lord Don’t Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb On Me” may be a little weird but it is also a lot of fun.
The New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers have issued an album of very listenable blues. It is not an overly ambitious affair, which is part of its charm.