Tupelo Mississippi has always been know as the birthplace of the King of Rock and Roll, but now it can also be known as the birthplace of the new King of the Blues, Willie Pooch. If you need proof of this try listening to the new recording on Chicken Coop Records Willie Pooch's Funk and Blues and there will be no doubt in your mind. This is one of those move the furniture-turn up the volume until the neighbors bang of the walls -kind of recording. The old school kind where the singer has earned the right, not bought the right, to sing the blues. In short Willie is the real deal.
Produced by organ marvel, producer and funk from the soul master Tony Monaco, this is a set of songs that grabs a hold of you from the first note and leaves you shaking you head with pure joy at the end. Eleven soul filled tracks, including the proper recordings of the classics "The Thrill is Gone" and "Georgia On My Mind" as well as five new gems penned by Pooch, "House Arrest Blues," "Cross My Heart Blues," "In My Lonely Room," "Buckeye Steel Mill Blues" and "Willie Rap," Willie Pooch's Funk and Blues is the blues at its best.
Born in 1936 in Tupelo, Willie has lived one of those lives that just makes for great music. From playing baseball in the cotton fields with playmate Elvis Presley, to playing the blues with the likes of Hound Dog Taylor, Elmore James, Luther Allison, Magic Sam and Muddy Waters, Willie Pooch is the living embodiment of the Delta Blues. At the age of 13, Willie and his family moved to Chicago's south side, where he began studying with Luther Allision. Working in the stockyards during the day and playing the blues at night, Willie dreamed of being the next big blues legend.
During the 50's Willie really lived the blues day in and day out. Be it in Chicago or touring the Midwest, he learned what it means to have the blues. "There's lots of blues to be learned out on the road, three months at a time, five guys in a beat up station wagon, I tell you that'll teach you about the blues." In 1962, Willie was recruited by Sam's Bar and Grill in Columbus, Ohio to be their house band, where he earned the nickname the "Godfather of Blues." Willie performed at night and worked at the Buckeye steel mill during the day, a job he held until his retirement in 1999 after 30 years and 30 days. The song "Buckeye Steel Mill Blues" plays tribute.
This is a recording that should find its way into the hearts and minds of all those who love not only the blues, but good honest music. Not the cookie cutter type that to often passes for music, this is authentic American Delta blues, the kind they don't hardly make no more. Give this man a listen. My bet is you will be hearing a lot from him very soon. By the way, if you want to hear more from Tony Monaco, the organist extraordinarie on this recording, check out East to West and Fiery Blues, both on Summit Records.