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The Sugar Kings

The Sugar Kings - Take your time, Mr. Brown

There's a mythical place in the land of Americana where blues, country and trad jazz meet. It's not too far from New Orleans. That's where the Sugar Kings come from. And the three of them - Clint Hoover on diatonic and chromatic harmonica, Steve sandberg on trombone and tuba and Cam Waters on guitars and vocals - sure paint a beautiful picture of that home land of theirs in 'Take your time, Mr. Brown".

This record includes mainly covers of pre-war blues artists like Jazz gillum, Bukka White and Blind Lemon Jefferson, although the arrangements, as hinted above, are nothing sort of genial. They bring us back to a time when the sharp divides between blues and jazz, blues and country did not exist than they are nowadays.

Clint Hoover had made a strong impression on the harmonica community (and indeed hopefully on a wider audience as well) with his jazz album "Dream of the Serpent Dog" released in 98. That opus featured Hoover mainly on Chromatic, so it is a delight to discover here that not only is he just as fluent on diatonic, but that he probably is one of the very best and inventive players of blues around today. His rythmic backing is impeccable, his soloing is joyful and harmonious. And, by the way, for those who still wonder if overblowing and blues don't go well together, try listening to this guy !

At the end of the day, "Take your time, Mr. Brown" is a lot more than clever musicianship though. There is an evident joy of playing good music on that record that is really refreshing. It manages to be both respectful of the musical traditions that inspire it and at the same time revisit these standards with arrangements that sound different and new. If you like any or all of the styles mentioned above in introduction, it would be very surprising if you didn't like this record. If you're particularly into pre-war blues, you will surely love what the Sugar Kings have done !

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