Friday, November 25, 2011
Big Joe Fitz -- "This Is Big"
I know this is a bit of a detour for me--an indy disc that came out in 2010 which I should have jumped on a long time ago, but for various reasons I missed it then. Please forgive me, Big Joe! This is a very fine disc--if you missed it, too, then let's get caught up! Big Joe Fitz is a New-York-area based blues singer and dj at WDST over the past twenty plus years. On "This Is Big" Big Joe is backed by his jumping band, the Lo Fi's: Big Joe on vocals, acoustic guitar and harmonica, Jumpin' Jack on piano, Mark Dziuba, Pete Hop, and Billy Hunt on guitar, Robert Bard and DeWitt Nelson on bass, (Bard is also listed as producer) and Tim Whalen, Phil Nestor and Steve Brown on drums. These guys play a disc full of smooth rich and deep blues. Big Joe's singing reminds me of John Hiatt--he knows how to sing with soul and taste and "put a song over." The songs are all covers, but they are NOT all safe choices--Fitz tackles Ray Charles' "Hard Times," Howard Harlan's "The Chokin' Kind," Eddie Vinson's "Kidney Stew," Delbert McClinton's "Leap of Faith" and Jerry Ragavoy/Mort Shuman's "Get It While You Can" best known in the version by Janis Joplin. These are not necessarily songs I might look forward to hearing by this or any other middle-aged guy, you know? But Big Joe plunges in, backed by a very good band, and he makes everything work out--even better, he actually makes these songs jump and move! My favorite here is the Doc Pomus/Dr John "Imitation of Love," on which Mark Dziuba, Tim Whalen, and Robert Bard make a beautiful creamy smooth groove for Big Joe to sing above. A fine song, part of a fine cd. Big Joe has been singing these blues all over New York & New Jersey for a long time, and his voice and his taste and this band all combine to make "This Is Big" a very worthwhile listen for any blues lover. There is a quote from Duke Robillard on Fitz' website, "I really like your version of "You Mean Everything To Me". Good Work!"
How could anything I say top that? You can buy this disc or individual songs at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/BigJoeFitz