BOO HANKS w/ DOM FLEMONS
Music Maker 148
Yes, field recordings are still being done in 21st-century America. Here Dom Flemons of Carolina Chocolate Drops travels to Buffalo Junction, Va., to play with octogenarian Piedmont blues guitarist Boo Hanks in his home. Hanks never played outside his locale until age 79 and worked in the tobacco fields until last year.
The convivial low-fi CD shows a seasoned veteran having fun as he extemporizes with trad folk (“Railroad Bill”) and yesteryear’s black hits (Brownie McGhee’s brother Stick McGhee’s “Drinking Wine Spodie Odie”). “One Dime Blues” lifts lines from Ruth Brown’s “Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean.” There’s something charming about an 80-something singing (convincingly enough) “Girls Are Crazy about Me.”
Flemons joins in on vocals, guitar, harmonica, and makeshift instruments the bones and jug. After all, bluesmen are resourceful recyclers of household things as well as song snippets. — Bruce Sylvester