Damon Fowler – Alafia Moon
From the label that once released a fine but ignored LP by producer Bruce Baxter comes an artist who really knows how to start a song off. The swampy fuzzy-toned lead guitar & harmonica of “Leave It Alone,” followed by the upbeat funk & dynamic drum lead-off “I’ve Been Low,” & the raw-guts vocals of Tampa’s Damon Fowler (who has played with many known artists) set off sparks from the mossy hound-dog area of his soul.
Alafia Moon (Landslide Records-Drops March 26/Alafia is a river in FL). The songs bring style, deep-end percussion, penetrating guitars & always fine vocal cords swabbed with whiskey since the day DF was born.
This is mindful of John Fogerty & Creedence, with some Dr. John. Always rowdy & creative. This 11-cut journey into Fowler’s 8th solo LP was produced by Fowler & George Harris. A hybrid of roots rock, juke-joint blues, & swamp rock with maturity & grit. Damon’s guitar skill has expertise but more importantly, it’s embedded with a feeling that’s easily accessible.
“Make the Best of Your Time,” has ounces of that Elvis Presley “Little Egypt,” upbeat jivey stroll vocal flavor damp with J.J. Cale timbre. Damon does it in style. The quirky female vocals add charm.
But it doesn’t stop there – a well-played novelty-oriented song follows with gusto: “The Guitar,” & for older listeners, this will remind one of Johnny Bond’s narration songs like “Hot Rod Lincoln,” & “X-15.” The guitar playing is exceptional.
More serious stuff rises from the swill on “Some Things Change,” where Damon does a fine Kim Wilson/Fabulous Thunderbirds with a nip of Isley Brothers funk, blues runs & howling harmonica. Deeper into darker blues hues comes “Taxman,” as Damon follows more closely in the footsteps of the late John Campbell. Vocally, Damon is also on the rim of Mutzie (“The Light of Your Shadow” circa 1970 & still performing). This tune has some excellent guitars by Damon.
Among the musicians – Chuck Riley (bass), Just Headley (drums), T.C. Carr (harmonica), Mike Kach (keys), Betty Fox (backup-vocals) & Josh Nelms (bottles & background noise).
“Wanda,” dips a toe in the water of Archie Bell & the Drells (“Tighten Up”) tradition. The funk swells nicely with organ & guitar drive.
Everything on this CD is top shelf. That is until track 10 & 11. Disposable drek. I have no clue what they were thinking. Nearly 10-minutes of CD could’ve been filled with 2 to 3 additional rousing guitar tunes. But no – just amateurish live stage patter not paced well followed by a comedy song that shouldn’t be on a blues album. One patron even says audibly “play something.” Telling a story live takes talent. Leave it to Tom Waits or Randy Newman.
The 52-minute CD sans the last 2 cuts @ 10 minutes. Final music playtime: 32-minutes.
Available @ https://www.damonfowler.com/