Mannish Boys Big Plans

This is the sophomore studio recording by the Mannish Boys, following their acclaimed 2004 debut, That Represent Man. Like its predecessor, Big Plans is a stone cold blues record showcasing one of the best blues bands active today. The premise is simple: a core of blues elders (vocalist Finas Tasby, piano player/vocalist Leon Blue and harmonica player/vocalist Johnny Dyer) are matched with a roster of first-call disciples, in this case Randy Chortkoff (harmonica/vocals), who also produced the set, Frank "Paris Slim” Goldwasser (guitar/vocals), Kid Ramos (guitar), Kirk "Eli” Fletcher (guitar), Tom Leavey (bass) and Richard "Big Foot” Innes (drums). This is a mature entity — nearly all of the members have solo recordings and are featured on hundreds of studio sessions dating back to the ’50s. Adding icing to the cake, this session features many guests, including guitarist Jody Williams, who recorded in the ’50s with Howlin’ Wolf, Otis Rush and others, and Bobby Jones, a south side Chicago recluse who’s rarely recorded during a 50-year career. Most of the musicians live in California but their musical base is Chicago and the Delta-infused style that was born there in the late ’40s. The 15-song play list is filled with shuffles, boogies and slow blues. The best singer, Tasby, smoulders during "I Get So Worried,” with Ramos delivering a scorching solo. Jones’s addictive "Mary Jane” makes one wish he’d record again soon. This is the best classic blues recording of 2007. (Delta Groove)