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Webb Wilder

Mississippi Moderne – 2015 (Landslide)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Webb Wilder

Webb Wilder's "Mississippi Moderne" (pronounced by Wilder as "Moe-durn") is a mix of rockabilly, blues and country with touches of the British Invasion. The set opens with a tease for the closing "Stones in My Pathway," an effectively retro country blues tune that sounds like it could have been recorded in the '30s. Though not quite as vintage sounding, Jimmy Reed's "I'm Gonna Get My Baby" (featuring George Bradfute on guitar) is equally compelling. It is on hard-edged bluesy rockers, such as the original "Rough and Tumble Guy" and Otis Rush's "It Takes Time," on which Wilder is at his best.

One of the stronger cuts is the cover of an obscure 1966 recording "Yard Dog" by the One Way Street featuring Joe V. McMahan trading guitar solos with Wilder. The Conway Twitty hit "Lonely Blue Boy" and Charlie Rich's "Who Will the Next Fool Be" (featuring impressive piano work from Micah Hulscher) are also given effective bluesy makeovers. Fools are a recurring theme as with "Only a Fool," featuring Bob Williams on electric sitar and R.S. Field's country ballad "I'm Not Just Anybody's Fool." Other highlights are the original "Too Much Sugar For A Nickel" and The Kinks' 1964 tune "I Gotta Move."

In addition to guests McMahan, Bradfute and Hulscher, the instrumentation is solid throughout with Wilder and Williams sharing the bulk of the guitar duties being nicely supported by band mates Tom Comet (bass) and Jimmy Lester (drums). "Mississippi Moderne" entertains with strong originals, nicely chosen covers and stellar performances throughout.