Reviews Zone

Mitch Woods: Friends Along The Way (Entertainment One) 23rd Feb 2018


4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)


Pianist and singer Mitch Woods is a master American blues musician who has never registered on my musical radar.

I admit, this is incredibly embarrassing because Van Morrison, Taj Mahal, John Lee Hooker, Joe Louis Walker and a whole host of ridiculously legendary roots and blues figures, respect and know him Mitch well enough to want to record with him.

We even have the inclusion here of two older recordings Woods did with two late mega blues giants: John Lee Hooker and James Cotton.

And record with him they do! An impressive array of, at my count; at least 12 guests across 16 tracks (track # 17 is a radio edit). Sounds like an absolute disorientating mess, right?

To be honest, I usually dread the “Featured Guest” album, for although the guests might add names for the publicity value, they can all too often weaken an album by blurring it’s overall focus and groove.

However, in this case it works incredibly well, because along with his undisputed musical talents, Woods seems to be a master organiser and has created that rare thing – a seamless, flowing and organic guest -laden record.

This is largely down to the choice of artists and the choice of material. Woods has chosen these artists for their considerable blues roots artistry, not their ability to tip the record towards a larger demographic. So thankfully, no Kid Rock, or any other ill-fitting member of the rock fraternity trying to sing and play the choice of numbers here.

Songs by the likes of Lead Belly, Leroy Carr, Champion Jack Dupree and Jimmy Liggins are given masterful treatment by certified blues masters.

So, too many high lights to mention?  Well, yes. With  a dozen guests of this calibre on a highly recommended record, I can only suggest that you do some digging for your own highlights, as there will be many for fans of high quality blues music.

By Giles Robson




1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’







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