Friday, July 25, 2014

When A Man Loves Women: Jimmy Carpenter, Walk Away

[Disclosure:  New Orleans treasure, Jimmy Carpenter is a friend.  That said, I’d be dancing around and singing along to this record for a long time even if I had never heard his name, because this is one beautiful, fun, and funky CD.  And, it’s sex on a stick.  This is one of the sexiest records in my expansive collection. Walk Away is good. Very good.]  

Although a well-known saxophone sideman for many a great Blues guitarist (Tinsley Ellis, Jimmy Thackery, Walter Wolfman Washington, and Mike Zito to name but a few), Carpenter has earned an impressive marquee value in his own right, and has sat in with more major blues names than I could list here.  He’s also an accomplished composer, arranger, and lyricist, talents which present themselves empirically on each of Walk Away’s tracks.  

Inspired by the past, present, and even future women in his life, the overall thesis of this record is that Mr. Carpenter loves the fairer sex.  A lot. This CD represents Carpenter’s lifetime Odyssey on the seas of romance, and he bares it all, his vulnerability in evidence with every phrase.  This is fearless writing which is what makes it so damn good.  That and one of the sexiest voices since Tommy Castro.  Nominated this year for a Blues Music Award honoring his Saxophone chops, this record informs that Carpenter’s vocals deserve similar recognition. Not to mention his wordsmithery.  The man can turn a phrase.

The title track is a cheeky (pun intended) number that should go down in history as one of the greatest tributes to the female derrière since Queen’s 1978 hit “Fat Bottomed Girls” (although Carpenter’s is more intimately directed than the raucous Brian May-penned song).  “Sometimes I wish you’d leave me, just so I can watch you walk away.”  Now that’s a great phrase.  There can be a thin line between honoring and objectifying, and Carpenter stays well within the realm of abject honor never sinking to vulgarity.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t:  Jimmy’s an ass man, pure and simple.  

Here’s what blogger, Grant Britt,of, has to say in his review of the title cut:   “Carpenter shows off his Muscle Shoals influences on “Walk Away,” snaky, funky soul with King Curtis-inspired riffs. Former Dr John and the Lower 911 guitarist John Fohl provides Cornell Dupree licks as Carpenter howls soulfully, “sometimes I wish you'd leave me so I could watch you walk away.”

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