Any time I have a chance to listen to something new from Doug Johns, I approach it with very high expectations. After all ,“Blomp” (click for review) was so amazing that we just had to have it as the soundtrack for our 2013 Winter NAMM photo montages! (Thanks again Doug for giving us a great groove for that show).
Now lets get up to date with Doug’s latest release “Vodka in the Woodpile”.
Doug gets our attention from the very first track, “Old Woman Creek,” where he lays down a sweet bass foundation, adorns it with banjo, guitar, harmonica and weaves it together with percussion by Jordan Simmons. You just have to hear the harmonics and the sound quality of that Pedulla bass to be hooked within the first 50 seconds on this track. Hear it for yourself:
On the following tracks, Doug recruited a solid group of musicians to compliment what is a bass players dream CD. The lions share of this playlist are Doug’s original pieces and have a great variety of feels and tempos. Let’s have a closer look at a few of them…
“Tricerafunk” is a super-funky growler of a track. I dare you to stand still while you listen to this one. I found my lip curling up as the brass punched in to this syncopated, rolling piece of sheer attitude.
“Free Ride” is the only track that Doug didn’t write. Even though the tune is familiar, the way Doug makes this piece his own is a tribute to the original 1972 Edgar Winter Group version. The bass dominates the tune and seriously rocks! I really liked the funky bridge about mid tune.
“Make the Music Feel Good” is a strutting tune with deliberate momentum. This piece evolves exponentially after the opening that sets the tone. Great percussion and brass accentuate this track and the vocals are perfectly blended. I would have liked to have this tune back in the day to play through my boom box while walking down the street. It just seems gigantic!
“Domicana” opens with a burst of sheer brass flourish that the percussion ties into the bass, picking up the groove and running with it! I get images of a Caribbean Island from the tonal selection and the upbeat tempo. Nice sax work completes the island flare. Here we have another super-tight arrangement that is meticulous and precise.
OK, I think you get the general idea about “Vodka in the Woodpile”. This CD is quite the masterpiece! It is a superb selection for us bass players but has universal appeal that all can enjoy. Above all, I think I mostly appreciate Doug’s “Voice” as it emerges from his instrument. The exquisite tone, the articulate feeling and the gritty groove are just a part of Doug’s unique playing style. This is one you need to have in your collection!
Vodka in the Woodpile is available at amazon.com
Visit online at http://www.dougjohns.com