For A Change
Traditional blues fans are going to really enjoy For A Change , the new disc from Brad Hatfield. There is no doubt.
“That’s My Home” kicks off the disc marching through a hard chopping blues progression, and Brad immediately declaring in that growling frog voice he’s comfortable singing the blues. The record is beginning to end a riff-driven, juke-joint experience reminiscent of the early days when the blues first went electric.
Bob Britt plays the guitar, and is on loan from Delbert McClinton for this project. As are Kevin McKendree on keys and Tom Hambridge on drums. Tom produced the disc, and Tom MacDonald, who has poayed with Buddy Guy and George Thorogood, plays bass.
That’s what seeing Brad live is like. You almost feel like you should be viewing him in black and white, there is such a authenticity and old-school blues style to his music.
Uphill From Anywhere, Brad’s 2013 release, was nominated for a BMA.
Brad is the son of Bernie Hatfield, one of Cincinnati’s legendary keyboard talents. Uphill From Anywhere featured the smooth and soulful sounds Bernie makes on that organ. For this record he chose to work with Delbert’s players
Brad picked up the guitar at ten years old, but had to drop it after a construction accident left him disabled. You can hear strength and commitment in his voice, and it was those qualities that made him never consider dropping music. He chose to master the harmonica, and that’s just what he did. Nothing was going to keep Brad from putting his stamp on blues music from the Midwest.
Bernie got into the music business in the sixties. He recorded a regional hit in 1965 called “Country Girl” with a group called Gino and the Gentlemen.
“I had the privilege of being on stage with a few stars,” Bernie told me, “The Casinos and blues legend Jimmy Reed. I have also been offered jobs with the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis band, Ben E. King….turned them down as my family was growing and I had to stay home to take care of business”
He got out the music business in 1990, “until Brad dragged me out of retirement in 2009”
And the blues he lived has become his message. Whatever he sings about, he gives you the impression he just left there, telling you about it as he nurses fresh wounds. “I don’t never finish nothing, baby / But I’m finished with you.”
“No such thing as last call / I ain’t never done.” Drink, Drank, Drunk is one of those beer raising barroom sing alongs that reminds me of Stacy Mitchart.
The final track, Burbank’s Boogie, talks about what what we all used to talk about in Cinncinnati. Going to have “belly full” of “real” bar be cue and enjoy the likes of H-Bomb Ferguson and Sonny Moorman at the coolest venue in town. ~Raul Watson