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CD REVIEW: Malkum & Chris - Walk On
By Ben Ohmart - 05/21/2007 - 10:34 AM EDT

Artist: Band: Malkum & Chris
Genre: Blues/Country
CD Review:
White guys get just as blue as old black guys, you know. Even B. B. King, who produced the first M&C album way back in 1970, calls them ‘A rare talent getting down with it.’ Now, that’s not to say that this is depressing blues like taxes. No, the cd cover shot shows the guys sharing a guffaw, heads held back as if they’re laughing off a huge compliment that they damn well Know is true, but they’ve got too much sense to say, ‘Hell yeah, we’re the best!’

Well, between the mouth organ and vocal work of Malkum Gibson and the Walmart-stocked guitar (it’s got everything) and vocals of Chris Kleeman, they certainly seem like one of the best and most energetic duos on the blues scene. Alas, they took a while off from music, but thankfully they’re back, and obviously they’ve never taken a day off from practice. The ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin’’ slide guitar and hurried harmonica speeding thru this here song is like a semi parting the water on a city street ­ you can’t stop it, you just stand there and look and listen to the powerhouse on wheels. Such is the usual meat packaged by the M&C Co.

But the thing I dig most about the Walk On set, is that for a good 14 tracks, it is the ignition that lights you up, not the ‘my baby done me wrong’ car crashes. Even when they go into ‘It Hurts Me Too,’ the way Chris energizes the words makes you feel that you’re watching a keen performance rather than feeling a slow shadow coming into your heart, getting you breathing heavily, watering the eyes. And lemme tell you, all those drama-hounds out there: being switched on instead of off cryin’ is a damn sight better. You’re as close to the characters that Malkum & Chris proliferate as anything Blue blues might depress upon you. Wouldn’t you rather listen to the power of the harmonies and the blithe guitar and scale-friendly mouth harp of ‘Jump Little Children’ than think about wrist slitting for a full hour?

If you’re looking for Layla, try the Ames on your right. If what you are severely needing is a boost of old-fashioned, blues-filled, country-empowered, eye-smiling, inferno-dousing, blindman-bluffing, lemonade-squeezin’ popcorn, these are choice kernels to get on with. Nothing sticks in the teeth. Just a good acoustic time for all.

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