Mike Flanigin Record Review
The Drifter (Black Betty Records)
Reviewed by Tim Stegall, Fri., Aug. 14, 2015
After years as Austin's go-to Hammond B-3 organist not named Ian McLagan, Mike Flanigin opened his address book, called some friends, and booked studio time. He'd already written the songs, tailoring each one to the talents of his collaborators. The results culminate in the most delightfully schizophrenic release of 2015 thus far. You'd be excused for thinking this a jazz exercise from the Sun Ra-esque opener, "The Devil Beats His Wife." Then "Fit to Be Tied," a rampaging Rolling Stones-meets-New York Dolls rocker, uncorks brutal guitars and a snotty Alejandro Escovedo vocal. Third track in, the familiarly gruff, smoky voice of Billy F. Gibbons begins intoning a spoken-word intro over plucked guitar, kickstarting the album's only cover, the late Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown's title track. And this is merely the first 15 minutes! Then follows a shuffle tailor-made for Jimmie Vaughan ("Roll All Night Long"), Gary Clark Jr. channeling Dobie Gray ("Stop the World"), and Kat Edmonson chanteusing two tracks, the string-laden "Nina" being especially beautiful. The Drifter – diverse, wonderful, rich.