KM Williams – Live In Italy – The Roots and Blues Festival 2005
DVD/CD Combo Package
Regular readers of this magazine(BLUES IN BRITAIN) will be aware of my passion for the downhome blues of KM Williams – The Texas Country Blues Preacher – and with the recent death of RL Burnside, his importance has become further highlighted, as much of his music is driven by the hypnotic/percussive rhythms, keening slide and mesmerizing vocals that make North Mississippi hill country blues so distinctive and so popular.
This DVD/CD combo was recorded live at The Rootsway Roots’n’Blues & Food Festival, in Guigno, Italy, 2005 – the DVD featuring thirteen tracks, and the CD, eight of these tracks plus one not featured on the DVD.
The DVD opens with the percussive ‘Texas Country Boogie’, a tribute to Blind Lemon Jefferson – Williams, sitting on a stool, tapping his feet to the rhythm, commenting, “I thought we had a drummer – I guess he’ll turn up after a while” – which he does, half way through the hypnotic hill country rhythms of ‘Do You now Where I’m Going’ – the fact he turns up with a washboard strapped to his chest, making William’s feel right at home, as this features prominently in his duo Trainreck.
The link to RL Burnside is acknowledged when Williams' plays "The Train Keeps A’Rollin", a song he learned from RL, and one he delivers in RL’s brooding style, the drummer’s sparse stick-work adding to that hill country groove, as it is reminiscent of the style of T-Model Ford’s drummer, Spam.
Other influences come via ‘One Of These Old Days’, a doom-laden blues that captures the true essence of Sam Hopkins’ blues; ‘Scratch My Back’, with it’s washboard driven rhythms, that, you can gather from the title, evokes the swamp blues of Harpo, Sundown, Hogan et al; the John Lee Hooker inspired ‘Let’s Boogie’; and the brooding ‘God Don’t Ever Change’, where his percussive slide and anguished vocals raise the spectre of the great Blind Willie Johnson.
Robert Johnson’s ‘Come Into My Kitchen’ (sic) is invested with a sparse hill country feel, and Elmore’s ‘The Sky Is Cryin’ is turned into a plaintive Texas country blues replete with a plodding rhythm and anguished vocals and slide.
The set finishes back in hill country territory, with ‘Can’t Be Worried’, Williams getting off his stool for the first time to boogie and shimmy across the stage.
The CD track not featured on the DVD is RLB’s ‘Jump(er) On The Line’, another wild example of hill country blues at it’s finest.
(home.swbell.net/kdwilent or CD Baby)
Mick Rainsford - Blues In Britain