I found John Mooney’s Testimony album at a Salvation Army a few months ago. Thrift stores can be a great place to discover music. It’s a lot easier to take chances when the albums are cheap. A few years back, I discovered Hayes Carl at a thrift store. Hayes is now one of favorite contemporary artists. When I found the John Mooney album, his name did ring a bell. I think that I had once made a mental note that I needed to check him out. So I looked at the album and was knocked out by the musicians listed in the credits, which included Dr. John, Tommy Malone (one my all time fave singers) of the Subdudes, and George Porter of The Meters. Each surely a member of the New Orleans Music Hall of Fame if there is such a thing. So I had to buy the CD. I’m glad that I did.
The point of this blog post though is “How in God’s name was I not already aware of this guy.” He’s got fifteen albums for Christsake. And it’s all right up my alley. Right in my sweet spot. He’s a New Orleans based slide blues singer songwriter guitarist. After moving from blues mecca South Orange, NJ, he landed in New Orleans and met, played with and learned from the immortal Son House. So John Mooney learned from a man that is also credited with being a big influence on both Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. How can that be? It’s like time travel. And again, why am I just learning about John Mooney now.
So I haven’t plowed through his whole catalog yet. But so far I’d say that his 2006 release Big Ol’ Fiya is my favorite. Testimony (1992) is close behind. The songs combine searing slide blues with New Orleans rhythms and great melodies. So what’s not to like? It reminds me a lot of Anders Osborne and also Sonny Landreth. Perhaps right smack in the middle. Like Anders, John might not be quite the virtuoso that Sonny is. But he writes and composes great songs. And hey that’s what really matters. I’m also really enjoying his 1996 live solo release Dealing With The Devil. Also, great stuff. Check him out!
Alan Likes Music