Robert Lee "Lil' Poochie" Watson & Hezekiah Early

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Robert Lee "Lil' Poochie" Watson & Hezekiah Early
Natchez Burnin'
Broke and Hungry Records
CD
$12

"Multi-instrumentalist Hezekiah Early (born in 1934) and guitarist Robert Lee Watson (born in 1951) have both been singing and playing the blues in and around Natchez, Mississippi, for decades…While Early has previously recorded with guitarists Elmo Williams & James Baker and trombonist Pee Wee Whittaker [in Hezekiah & the Houserockers], this is apparently Watson’s maiden recording.

"The long musical association between Early & Watson allowed Broke & Hungry’s Jeff Konkel to record this disc in a single, three-hour session at a Cleveland, Mississippi, studio in February 2016—after all, they’d been 'rehearsing' together in the local venues for years. Walton belts out the vocal on the opening 'Got My Eyes on You' backed by his own rudimentary but propulsive guitar and Early’s rack-mounted harmonica & powerhouse drumming that belies his age. Watson keeps things rocking on deconstructed versions of Chuck Willis' 'Feel So Bad,' Louis Jordan's 'Ain't That Just Like a Woman,' Fats Domino's 'Hello Josephine,' and Rosco Gordon's 'Just a Little Bit' and applies his gravelly yet expressive voice to more ruminative fare on his own 'Mama Don’t Love Papa' and Lightnin' Hopkins' 'Mr. Charlie.' The two men share the vocals on 'Shooby Dooby Doo' and Big Joe Turner’s 'Flip, Flop and Fly,' while Early steps away from his drum seat to sing and play his own homemade guitar (sorry, no photos) on 'Baby Please Don't Go' and 'Somebody Changed the Lock' while Watson lays out.

"What this music may lack in sophistication, it more than makes up for in spontaneity and excitement—you can add Watson and Early to a long list of Mississippi guitar–drum combos that ranges from Trent Ayers and Cedric Burnside through T-Model Ford and Spam and all the way back to Woodrow Adams and Fiddlin' Joe Martin." —Jim DeKoster/Living Blues. Hear their great Shooby Dooby, a tune Early also played with the Houserockers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7K7U5W_Gug See also this very nice Offbeat article about the duo & Mr. Early's American Made 10" with Elmo Williams.