Compact Capsules by Dan Ferguson
Naomi Shelton & Gospel Queens
What Have You Done, My Brother?
Soul music in the gospel tradition is the M.O. on What Have You Done, My Brother? from Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens. Singing in Brooklyn and NYC soul clubs since the early ‘60s, the Alabama native's solo debut album is a slab of timewarp tunage that plays like some long lost, early ‘60s Southern soul artifact. Credit the album's throwback sheen to Shelton's hooking up with Daptone Records whose label cornerstone is the great soul revivalist Sharon Jones. It's a marriage made in heaven, not to mention must-have goods. Visit www.daptonerecords.com.
New Moon Hand
Big Legal Mess Records
When he hunkers down on guitar (as he nearly all through his new album), the garage-folk blues of Alabaman Willem Maker is near narcotic. Maker hits the strings hard on New Moon Hand taking his beautifully poetic lyrics and roughhewn voice to gut-grabbing heights. Be it singing about the lead and mercury poisoning that decommissioned him for a decade or the mesmerizing slide work on "Black Beach Boogie", Maker proves a new force to be reckoned with. Visit www.makerworks.com.
James Luther Dickinson
Dinosaurs Run In Circles
Memphis International Records
I'm thinking cavernous dance hall, piano in the corner and bare-bones trio with bass, brushes and a codger on the ivories. It's as antique as it's timeless. At age 65, many think retirement. Not Jim Dickinson. Involved in music since the ‘60s, the 67-year-old marks the "social security years" with his third solo album in three years, all after a 30-year stretch that yielded just one. Dinosaurs Run in Circles is a departure, Dickinson's jazzy foray. Loose and informal arrangements give it an appealingly casual feel not far removed from a few fellows noodling the night away in a beer hall. In other words, kind of addicting. Visit www.memphisinternational.com.
(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 - 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)