REVIEW

“A fascinating, enjoyable and idiomatic recording”

This intriguing recording brings together a French trio (Hypnotic Wheels) with several of the most prominent living players of Mississippi North Hill Country Blues.  […]

After a brief instrumental, we hear four field recordings with Cedric Burnside (and one can hear dogs barking in the background) as they launch into a mesmerizing treatment of RL Burnside’s “Goin’ Down South,” with Cedric and Tia alternating vocals with some spellbinding single note guitar runs against a drone musical background. After the performance ends Cedric talks about times with his brother Cody who died at 29 before going into “The Girl is Bad,” with its somewhat jerky groove and slashing slide guitar. This is followed by a high stepping “See My Jumper Hanging On the Line,” with the French trio adding their congenial, if unusual sound to this spirited performance of another RL Burnside song. Cedric further shows how well he continues in the manner of his father on “Rollin’ and Tumblin’.”

Shardé Thomas adds vocals and fife to a vibrant rendition of “Station Blues” (a retitled “Sitting on Top of the World,” with Glomeau providing the fife and drum band groove with Tia and Gilles adding their buzzing backing). It is followed by a haunting “Shawty Blues,”and the spiritual “Glory, Glory Hallelujah.” Cameron Kimbrough then leads us on a lively rendition of “Leave Her Alone,” from his father Junior Kimbrough, set against the mesmerizing backing, while his own “Gonna Love You,” is a tough performance in a similar vein.

Pat Thomas’ “Dream” has a wistful quality while the hurdy gurdy of Chabenat provides a somber fiddle-like backing. It is followed by the trio’s own interpretations including a rendition of Jesse Mae Hemphill’s “She Wolf,” recorded at Dockery Farms, along renditions of Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “Shake ‘Em On Down,” and B.B. King’s recording, “Help The Poor.” One wonders Jesse Mae Hemphill might have thought of her music influencing this French singer and guitarist, who does a more than simply capable job in singing and performing these. Pat Thomas, sounding like his father, James ‘Son’ Thomas, closes this album at the Highway 61 Museum (with traffic in the background) with a simple, stark and moving “Standing at the Crossroads/Dust My Broom” mashup, titled here “Highway 61.” 

While this won’t replace the classic recordings of Fred McDowell, RL Burnside, Jesse Mae Hemphill and Junior Kimbrough, the Hypnotic Wheels has produced a fascinating, enjoyable and idiomatic recording that pays homage to their musical influences. It presents the current practitioners of this tradition with emphatic backing that is so much more appropriate to the music than most efforts to modernize (or commercialize) this tradition. This is a recording that brings pleasure everytime I listen to it.

By Ron Weinstock, in one of his “semi-regular collection of observations, reviews and more about blues, jazz and other matters informed by the blues tradition.” Read the full review on In a Blue Mood.

“Original i d’una força sorprenent”

“T’agrada el blues?” Do you love the blues? If you do, Catalunya Radio, in Spain, offers to discover two albums: “Live at Carnegie Hall” by Joe Bonamassa… and “l’últim d’un trio francès anomenat Muddy Gurdy, tan primitiu com original i d’una força sorprenent” —”the latest recording by Muddy Gurdy? a French trio named Muddy Gurdy, primitive, original, and suprisingly powerful.”

Listen bluesman and radio host Quico Pi de la Serra’s whole T’agrada el blues? show (in Catalan), on Catalunya Radio. 

 

 

“Really a terrific release and one to catch!”

 

[…] Opening with RL Burnside’s, Goin’ Down South the group conjurs the feeling of Mali and Ali Farka Touré. Very nice. Another Burnside track, See My Jumper Hanging On The Line maintains a really rural feel with gritty guitar work and earthy vocals. Muddy Water’s Rollin’ and Tumblin’ is tom tom heavy with acoustic slide and authentic vocals.

Otha Turner’s Station Blues really keeps in line with Turner’s roots with ancient slide sounds and snare drum accompaniment behind Tia’s vocals and Sharde’s fife. Very nice. With a more modern hip hop/jazz feel, Tia shows excellent vocal phrasing over a much more contemporary light sound. Cameron Kimbrough’s Gonna Love You has that classic North Mississippi sound with it’s loose guitar soloing and Hooker like vocals. Excellent! Mississippi Fred McDowell’s Shake ‘Em On Down has a great rudimentary feel with rhythm guitar drive and slide guitar flash. Very cool. Wrapping the release is Highway 61, played in the most raw form imaginable and with falsetto vocals over the sounds of cars and trucks on the road in backing.

This is really a terrific release and one to catch!

By BMan. Read the full review on BMan’s Blues Report

On the Undercover Country playlist

“On this week’s Undercover Country podcast, we reveal the identity of the mysterious ‘Silver Yodeler’, we play a re-telling by arguably, Ireland’s greatest storyteller, Eddie Lenihan, some German country and a blues group fronted by a viellist!” i.e. Gilles Chabenat and Hypnotic Wheel. Their Muddy Gurdy album blends into Dylan Fitzgerald’s very interesting playlist, mixing “odd and unusual country music from around the world”.

Listen to Glory Glory Hallelujah with Shardé Thomas at 43:30.

Digital Blues: “A CD which I am loving”

Digital Blues, in the U.K., brings every week “tracks from more new arrivals”… and gave Muddy Gurdy a spin: Going’ Down South’, Hypnotic Wheels playing with Cedric Burnside —and the dogs barking in the background.

The section starts at 19:00.

With the review at 27:52: “A track from a CD which I played last week, which I am loving. It is called Muddy Gurdy. It’s three French musicians playing, as they say: When French hurdy gurdy meets the North Mississippi Hill Country blues, featuring Cedric Burnside, Cameron Kimbrough, Pat Thomas and Sharde Thomas. These very different interpretations of some very well know songs.”

Inesistenti: “Its beauty and its originality”

There are records that you discover by pure chance… on the internet. And this is maybe one of the few positive notes that I personally find in the arrival of the web in the music world: being able to have access to artists who otherwise would have been almost in our country unknown, alas. Here is a record that, for its beauty and its originality, deserves to be listened to. It is, without a doubt, among one of the best blues album that has been produced these days. […]

Ci sono dischi che scopri per puro caso… nella rete e forse questa è una delle poche note positive che trovo, personalmente, nell’avvento di Internet nel mondo della musica: poter aver accesso ad artisti che altrimenti, nel nostro paese, sarebbero stati pressoché sconosciuti, ahimè. Un disco che per bellezza e originalità merita di essere ascoltato e senza dubbio annotato fra le cose migliori che il blues abbia prodotto in questo periodo. […]

Perhaps the greatest merit of the project is the humility with which this collaboration has been done, without any musician ever wanting to overdo it. […] Fifteen pieces, ranging from traditional songs like Glory Glory Hallelujah, to songs written by the Americian artists involved, such as the wonderful That Girls Is Bad by Burnside or songs that have made the history of the blues like Muddy Waters’ Rollin ‘and Tumblin.  […]

Forse il merito più grande del progetto è l’umiltà nel collaborare nell’incisione, senza voler mai strafare. […] Quindici pezzi che vanno da branii tradizionali, Glory Glory Hallelujah, a pezzi degli artisti americani coinvolti, come la stupenda That Girls Is Bad di Burnside, ma anche a brani che hanno fatto la storia della musica blues come Rollin’ and Tumblin’ di Muddy Waters. […]

The record exudes passion and skill, intense but not easy. The songs are often long sessions with a signature groove and hypnotic sound, with percussion on the shields. The touch that the hurdy-gurdy gives to the whole album is the extra present. The fusion of two traditional musics does not distort them. On the contrary, they are improved, giving us the greatest result obtained by the French combo.  […]

Un disco che trasuda passione e bravura, intenso ma non facile. Le canzoni sono spesso delle lunghe sessions che fanno del groove e del suono ipnotico il marchio di fabbrica, con le percussioni sugli scudi. Il tocco che l’hurdy-gurdy dà a tutto l’album è davvero la marcia in più, la fusione di due musiche tradizionali che non si snaturano ma. anzi, si migliorano, regalandoci il più grande risultato ottenuto dal combo francese. […]

If you love quality blues and jazz, you might fall in love with this intense sound, absolutely recommended. Good listening.

Se amate il Blues e il Jazz di qualità, potreste innamorarvi di questo sound intenso, assolutamente consigliato. Buon ascolto.

By Claudio Trezzani. Read the full review (in Italian), on Inesistenti

SoundGuardian: “The album will bring you to your knees”

We all know that blues has a baby and that’s rock ‘n’ roll. But the blues has another kid and called it “Muddy Gurdy”. Where did it come from now? The story starts in France, inspired by a trio playing under the name of Hypnotic Wheels. […]

Svi znamo da blues ima dijete i to je rock ‘n’ roll. No, blues ima još jedno dijete i nazvali su ga “Muddy Gurdy”. Od kuda sada to? Priča ide iz Francuske, poticana od trija koji djeluje pod nazivom Hypnotic Wheels.  […] 

This French trio, composed by Tia Gouttebel (guitar, vocals), Gilles Chabenat (hurdy-gurdy, a traditional French instrument) and Marc Glomeau (percussion) traveled to Mississippi. And this incredible album was born. […]

Ovaj francuski trio u sastavu Tia Gouttebel (gitara, vokal), Gilles Chabenat (Hurdy-Gurdy – to je tradicionalni francuski instrument) i Marc Glomeau (udaraljke) uputio se na mjesto zločina i otišao na deltu Mississippija i tu je nastao ovaj nevjerojatan album.  […] 

We come to realize that the blues surounds us, that the blues is alive, real and ubiquitous. Standing in the middle of my room I am overwhelmed by Station Blues. […]

Razlog je jednostavan: slušajući razne prezentacijske forme bluesa, dolazimo do iskonske spoznaje da je blues svuda oko nas, on je itekako živ, on je stvaran i sveprisutan. Stojim u sredini svoje sobe slušam “Station Blues”. 

The music is inspired by what the legendary blues musicians RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Othar Turner and James “Son” Thomas left us, and by what their are descendants, Cedric Burnside, Shardé Thomas, Cameron Kimbrough and Pat Thomas are now doing. They give the whole story authenticity. But to me personally it is somehow this French trio, Hypnotic Wheels, that gives some kind of “mojo” to all the songs.  […]

U ovom glazbenom stilu osjeća se ta tradicijska glazbena baština, koja zrači onime što su radili legendarni blues glazbenici RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Othar Turner i James “Son” Thomas a sada to čine njihovi potomci, Cedric Burnside, Shardé Thomas, Cameron Kimbrough i Pat Thomas. Da, oni su dali cijeloj priči autentičnost, no meni osobno se nekako čini da je upravo ovaj francuski trio, Hypnotic Wheels, svim pjesmama dao taj osjećaj, taj “mojo”. 

All 13 songs will win you right away. The atmosphere, the relaxed style will bring you to your knees. I am still standing in the middle of my room and I simply cannot believe what I am hearing. This is just like blues. This is deeper and stronger than traditional blues.   […]

Svih 13 pjesama osvojit će vas na prvu i taj ugođaj, taj opušteni stil prezentacije mora vas baciti na koljena. Još uvijek stojim u sredini svoje sobe i naprosto ne vjerujem da to čujem, ovo je kao iskonski blues, ovo je dublje i jače i veće od tradicionalnog bluesa.

It is so “damned” good!  […]

To tako “prokleto” dobro!

By Mladen “Mike” Loncar. Read the full review (in Croatian), in the Sound Guardian‘s Blues Corner. 

Blues Blast Magazine: “You’ll love this hour-long CD”

 The blues world is an interesting place –both because of the musicians who make the music and the diversity of sounds that emerge when different musical styles seemingly collide. The latter’s the case for this different and extremely interesting production, which combines some of the biggest names in North Mississippi Hill Country blues with a trio of Europeans who’ve melded French folk music with the American sound they’ve come to love.

Muddy Gurdy is composed of a trio who reinvented themselves after a successful folk career in France under the moniker of Hypnotic Wheels. The unit includes Tia Gouttebel on guitar and vocals, Marc Glomeau on percussion and Gilles Chabenat, who provides vocals in addition to playing the hurdy-gurdy, the instrument that provides half of the band’s name. […]

“Tia In The Rocking Chair” opens the set, and is exactly as titled: 46 seconds of peace, quiet and the sound of Gouttebel rocking gently in her seat on a porch. It’s a great mood setter for R.L. Burnside’s “Goin’ Down South,” which follows. From the first notes of this one, you realize quickly that this trio understand their medium and deliver it with great feel. Chabenat’s hurdy-gurdy mimics guitar lines in a warm, haunting manner as he trades licks with Gouttebel’s guitar atop a repetitive drum pattern. Gilles and Tia share vocals, and the hurdy-gurdy adds new, deep sounds to the traditional feel.

The instrument takes on the air of a violin as Cedric takes to the mike for his uptempo original “That Girl IS Bad,” which would keep folks up and moving on any juke dance floor, driven by syncopated drum patterns and his acoustic runs on slide. He also handles vocals for dad R.L.’s “See My Jumper Hanging On The Line” and Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ And Tumblin’,” delivered much like the acoustic 1940s original, but taken to a different level because by the hurdy-gurdy sound.

Fife and drum master Otha Turner’s “Station Blues” is up next, aided by granddaughter Sharde. Her voice graces his one as well as her own “Shawty Blues,” a moving ballad about chasing a dream but being misunderstood by the older generation, and a hurdy-gurdy and fife-powered take on the traditional “Glory Glory Hallelujah,” delivered in Hill Country style.

Cameron Kimbrough’s at the mike next for a cover of his original, “Leave Her Alone,” which has a more modern feel with him on electric guitar, and a droning take on granddad Junior’s “Gonna Love You.” Pat Thomas, son of the legendary James “Son” Thomas, joins the action for his ballad “Dream” before Tia holds her own on vocals for an uptempo cover of Jessie Mae Hemphill’s “She Wolf,” Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “Shake ‘Em On Down” and Charles Singleton’s “Help The Poor” before a 3-minute, 45-second outro entitled “Highway 61,” which includes sounds of crickets, traffic and a solitary singer/picker delivering “Standing At The Crossroads,” brings the disc to a close.

If you love Hill Country blues, you’ll love this hour-long CD, which is available through most major retailers. The two art forms combine seamlessly and the production will have you feeling like you’re kicking back with the musicians on a warm summer’s eve. If you prefer your tunes urban and electrified, however, this one is definitely worth a listen but might be outside your comfort zone.

By Marty Gunther, in Blues Blast Magazine, about Muddy Gurdy, Hypnotic Wheel’s second CD. Read the full review. 

 

“Muddy Gurdy truly becomes a global affair”

Three French musicians –Tia Gouttebel on vocals and guitar, Marc Glomeau on percussion, and Gilles Chabenet on the hudy gurdy (a traditional French instrument)– had a unique vision to combine the sounds of French music with the thumping drone of the music of the North Mississippi Hill Country.  And what better way to pull that off than to spend some time in that region and immerse yourself in the music, played by some of the descendants of the Hill Country legends.  After a year of preparation, the trio made it to Mississippi, in blues hotbeds such as Leland, Como, and B. B.’s birthplace, Indianola.  The resulting recording is titled “Muddy Gurdy,” and shows how the blues has become a world-wide genre.’  Along for this joyous ride, we have Cedric Burnside, Sharde’ Thomas, Cameron Kimbrough, and Pat Thomas, adding to the air of authenticity due to their heralded lineage.

We were wholly unfamiliar with the hurdy-gurdy, but, in the skilled hands of Gilles, it sounds like a fusion of an accordion and a fiddle.  Within the context of this material, it acts as a second guitar.  The set opens with Cedric Burnside on guitar with a tune written by R. L. Burnside, “Goin’ Down South, where the chilly wind don’t blow.”  He continues with a contemporary shout-out to his late brother wit  the good-time rap of “That Girl Is Bad.”

Sharde’ Thomas brings her fife to the party with a nod to grandfather Otha Turner  in “Station Blues,” a minor-key, dirge-like re-working of “Sittin’ On Top Of The World.” She becomes that “young woman chasin’ that big dream” on “Shawty Blues,” and closes her set with a traditional gospel read of “Glory Glory Hallelujah,” with Gilles’ hurdy-gurdy the perfect foil for her fife.

Cameron Kimbrough captures the energy and power of this music with the grungy  “Gonna Love You,” as does Pat Thomas with our favorite.  The set closes amid traffic noise in the background as Thomas’ eerie vocal takes you right down to the source of the mystery and myths of this region with his version of the crossroads tale, “Highway 61.”

With the addition of the French trio to the music of North Mississippi, “Muddy Gurdy” truly becomes a global affair.  It further proves that two societies, as far apart in miles as they are in culture, can find common ground through the power of the blues!

By Sheryl and Don Crow, from the Nashville Blues Society, about Muddy Gurdy, Hypnotic Wheels’ second album which was released by VizzTone on February 2, 2018.

Read the review on their DonAndSherylBluesBlog

 

Balling the Jack: “Added gallic hurdy-gurdyness”

After That Girl is Bad, featuring Cedric Burnside, last week, Joe Cushley broadcasted Station Blues, a song Hypnotic Wheels recorded with Sharde Thomas on fife and vocals on their Muddy Gurdy CD, on his Balling the Jack show on Resonance FM in London —an inspiring show, not to be missed!

We have got Muddy Gurdy. This is another interesting project. If you were listening last week, the French band Hypnotic Wheels have always had an interest in the blues. Last year went over to North Mississippi and collaborated with some of the native musicians there, including Sharde Thomas, the granddaughter of Otha Turner, fife and drum farmer, and custodian of the old traditions of fife playing. And Cedric Burnside, son of the Burnside blues dynasty. And Pat Thomas…

The Hypnotic Wheels have got a hurdy gurdy player. The sort of mesmeric quality of the hurdy gurdy matched with the drone trance quality of North Mississippi blues. They produced something rather wonderful.

This is Station Blues and it is Sharde Thomas singing. It is from the fife and drums tradition but with added gallic hurdy-gurdyness.

The section starts at 37:15.