Friday, July 18, 2008

Review: Sum' Mo' Chikan

James "Super Chikan" Johnson and his band, the Fighting Cocks, have come out with a new cd, "Sum' Mo' Chikan." At first I thought Super Chikan was some kind of comedy act, a wanna be player, sort of like Bruce Willis or Steven Segal, and I just didn't want to have time for his act. Then I sat down and began to listen to Super Chikan's music. I heard this album, and after 2 or 3 listens I am a man with a changed mind. I was wrong about SuperChikan. (I might still be right about Steven Segal, but we'll take that up another time.) According to Wikipedia, Super Chikan is the nephew of Big Jack Johnson, and he got his start playing bass with the Jelly Roll Kings. Well, that's a pretty good pedigree. Nowadays Super Chikan plays regularly at Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale Mississippi. I bet he makes skeptics into fans every time he turns on his guitar and steps up to the mic. This is a good cd--it starts out with "Freddy's Thang," which is just "Hideaway" done over a bit sideways, and then it follows with two songs "Crystal Ball" and "Hookin' Up," two autobiographical songs that still make me laugh out loud. These songs remind me of my childhood in the best way. Then the songs, the guitar, and the vocals all just keep getting better. By the time you get to the last song, "Coochie Daddy," you feel like you're listening to a friend. There are lots of upbeat joyful tunes here, it's well written and well played. Give it a chance and you'll probably like it. If you think your blues world is already full without letting this guy in, you're just missing out. This cd is on the Vizztone Record label.

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