Album review: MARK “PORKCHOP” HOLDER – Death And The Blues

MARK "PORKCHOP" HOLDER – Death And The Blues

[Release date 03.11.17]

Recorded as the follow-up to debut “Let It Slide” only 9 months ago, the Porkchop is back with another collection of wonderfully uncomplicated, dirty and mean blues cuts. You’d have to be comatose not to feel the natural inclination to bump and grind to this stuff – I defy you to keep every part of your body still during “Coffin Lid” or the fuzz-smothered “Big Boat”.

Holder calls life like it is and doesn’t overthink things, musically or otherwise…..”Blues is the music of poor people and poor people live closer to death than other people do. The message of the title track is simple; death and the blues are real.

I have a personal connection with the symbols of death; they remind me not to waste my time”. And he passes that message on and thanks fellow (troubled) bluesman, keys maniac and former Black Diamond Heavies bandmate, James Leg, for laying down the bottle, in the song of the same title.

To successfully plough this furrow of stripped-down, grubby blues, a band needs to sound tight and sloppy all at the same time, perfectly illustrated on “Be Righteous” – for Holder’s three-piece band, completed by Travis Kilgore on bass and Doug Bales on drums, this seems like shooting fish in a barrel as they stomp and holler through “Captain, Captain” and the Marty Robbins traditional composition of “Billy The Kid”.

As evidenced on his first album, Holder clearly has a soft spot for Johnny Cash-infused punkabilly. “Bless Me Santasima” seems a tip of the hat to incidental funeral music from a Tarantino blood-fest movie – almost Dick Dale surfer style on this too short segue-track.

With an unmistakable fuzzy, bottom-end growl to his guitar playing, this is junkyard-dog blues at its best – sometimes it don’t need polishing to still be a diamond. The Porkchop’s second album is a classic delta blues ride except this one is splattered with mud, has had its muffler tampered with but is comfortable as hell and the one you want to leave the juke joint with. ***1/2

Review by Mark “Mad Dog” Shaw

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