John Schooley & His One Man Band

Release me: Saturday, April 9, the Longbranch Inn

Texas Platters

John Schooley & His One Man Band

(Voodoo Rhythm)

Can you hear that steam whistle blow? It's John Schooley, man and band. This is a travelin' album – by rail, by wheel, by wood, and coal. No jet engines here, only industrial sweat and steel. Southern blues stripped to the bare essentials, John Schooley & His One Man Band multitasks like a train-jumper circa 1938 (read Ned Ludd's liner notes). Playing all the instruments on the album save cello and mandolin, Schooley grinds it out just the same live: guitar across his lap, foot on the kick drum, harp round his neck. He begs for a moonshine-serving sweatbox. Opening and closing with the Rev. A.W. Nix's preachings underneath a slow-churning "Black Diamond Express Train to Hell" parts one and two, Schooley rolls through traditional blues ("Factory Dog"), Appalachian bluegrass ("Cat Squirrel"), rockabilly ("Drive You Faster"), and contemporary, blues-tinged rock & roll ("She Ain't Comin' Home"). That harp turns white collars blue. Interspersing originals with covers of Jimmy Reed's "Honest I Do" and Howlin' Wolf's "Killing Floor" (a perfect match) among others, Schooley is a vision of the past sneaking up on the future. Nothing to do but hold on tight and ride those rails.

***.5

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