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Mikey Jr and Matt Daniels – Pocket Full Of Money

8th Train Records

10 tracks, 30.55 minutes.

Mikey Junior is a native of New Jersey and has played harmonica and sung since his teenage years. This is his fourth CD release and is in acoustic trio format with regular guitarist Matt Daniels and Jimmy Pritchard on upright bass. Mikey also runs a full band called “Mikey Junior And The Cold Stone Blues” which will be competing at the IBCs in February. Mikey endears himself to any reviewer by providing a humorous press release which informs us that Mikey and Matt met while auditioning for “So You Think You Can Dance” – a likely story!

Each of the players contributes one original song. Mikey’s “We Made A Mistake” features some tough harp on a song of regret at the end of a relationship (“No matter who I’m with it’s you I’m thinking of”). Matt’s “North Country Blues” is an instrumental that does pretty well what the title suggests, Matt’s guitar sympathetically underpinned by Jimmy’s bass. Jimmy’s effort opens the CD and provides the title of the CD. It provides a good start to the CD locating the music in classic acoustic blues before we get versions of four RJ, two Muddy Waters and one tune from the pen of Junior Wells. All are well done and clearly recorded, but does the world need more versions of these classic songs?

Well the truth is that Mikey will probably sell more CDs off the bandstand after people enjoy his shows. Nevertheless for someone who has not seen the live show the CD works well and I particularly enjoyed the uptempo version of “They’re Red Hot”, the stately version of “Me And The Devil Blues” and the rolling tempo of closer “You Don’t Have To Go”. All three originals work well and suggest that next time round they might do more original music and fewer covers.

The CD is a good introduction to Mikey Jr. and friends’ music and should appeal to all lovers of well recorded acoustic blues.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK. He recently attended the Blues Blast Awards in Chicago and had a great time! Back in the USA for the January 2011 Blues Cruise!

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