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
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 !