Talk about Truth in labeling: Firecracker, the new James Day CD, sports not only Day’s indelible songs and harmonica, but production and guitar from the talented Nathan James, piano by Carl Sonny Leyland, and saxophone from Jonny "Nocturne" Viau. The rollicking affair hits on both city and country blues beginning with "Blues on a Fuse," in which Day blows a squalling solo over a chugging shuffle, continuing through the T-Bone Walker-style "Big Money," which reflects on how corporate giants are pasteurizing America, one town at a time, and touching on the spooky Latin blues "Before I Go." The many hotspots include James’s fat-toned stuttering guitar break on "Man About Town," Leyland’s boogie masterpiece "Too Many Tattoos," and Day’s roaring harp showcase "Boiled Peanuts." Fabulous stuff.
James Day is a southern blues artist from the Mississippi Gulf Coast town of Biloxi. He sent his twenties living in New Orleans sucking up all that Americana, New Orleans R&B, and blues. His day jobs included being a fish fry man, which is the name of the band he put together after moving to Philly. Becoming a favorite in the area they become the backing band for many traveling blues stars, one of them was James Harman in 2003. Harman and his guitarist , Nathan James loved James Day and had such a good time that Harman offered to produce his next record. How do you pass up an offer like that? This isn’t a Harman record he plays on and not just monster advice, attitude, fine production (plus background vocals on "Fish Where They Bite" one of the best tunes on the CD. Day plays all the harp, some guitar, vocals and kazoos. Nathan James on the other hand lays down some greasy lines that require napkins. Hmmmmmmmm, sounds familiar. As most James Harman touched material it is full of real tall tales, grooves, and humor. All the many styles mesh effortlessly including Jonny Viau’s tenor arrangements with Tony Matoian’s baritone. You also hear many styles of harp from James Day as he’s sucked them up like a sponge over each discovery of a new harp man during his life. James Day and the Fish Fry play "Jump Blues and New Orleans Grooves" all over the East Coast. The opening cut "Blues on a Fuse" explains the blueprint of Firecracker. "Down The Shore" as it is pronounced in Philly, not let’s go down to the shore is a big chuck of summer behavior in Delaware and Jersey. "Too Many Tattoos has Sonny Leyland not able to stop the boogie….thank god. A fantastic closer that makes you go Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, it ain’t over is it? Shit! Put that on again. Let’s introduce The Sizzlin’ Fish Fry that will get you on your feet or prosthetics at live gigs! They are Jeff Michael (acoustic bass), Ron Baldwin (piano), Mark Thornton (percussion), Greg Snyder (guitar), and Mark Shewchuk (drummer).
James Day has assembled a great cast of players and crafted some very cool and satisfying tunes and arrangements cutting a wide path through different roots styles. An effective vocal stylist and tough harmonica player, he's put together a rollicking piece of work that should fit nicely into your current list of favorites.
James Day's new release is a concentrated mix of pure energy. Great style, great soul and great harp. Firecracker-handle with care... you could burn yourself with real blues!
Man! James Day is a crazy enjoyable artist and an excellent story-teller. He plays blues, jump, rumba, boogie-woogie and rhythm and blues from the deepest part of his heart. His music is a real journey that drives us to forties and fifties to savor legendary Memphis, Chicago, Texas or New Orleans music. Good rhythm, good patters, good tempo, good beat.... A solid cd!! Mr. Day, keep on blowin' your harp!!
James Day and the Fish Fry have found their sound – a brew of influences from the 40's to the present. I have heard just about every blues style from this former Cresent City native's band; Chicago, West Coast Jump, Delta, Zydeco, Latin, Swamp Pop, New Orleans Blues and some I haven't figured out yet.
These guys are top shelf players and great showmen... get ready to dance!
If you want to "Jump" this is the right way! James and his band are one of the coolest surprises from the independent blues releases in these last months. Fresh sound... Groovy rhythms!"
I'm certain this one's gonna be a hit amongst our listeners here at Radio Ung in Kristiansand, Norway. It sure looks like these guys know just what it's all about
Turbo charged jump blues with humor and energetic performances.
Day's harmonica has one of the fattest and juiciest tones I've ever heard and I do mean ever. His technique is impressive and his mind is open – those to things rarely go together. As a good singer James also writes interesting songs - avoiding over-used terms and clichés. Together with a super-tight band made of classy musicians James Day and the Fish Fry have recorded a CD that has many faces and never gets boring. For blues fans in general and harp fans in particular this is a CD to buy!
Louis Jordan meets Little Walter on the way to New Orleans