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Published: 2013/11/09
by Brian Robbins

Greg "Stackhouse" Prevost
Mississippi Murderer

Mean Disposition Records

Seems to me that someone has been down to Rosedale with his rider by his side. Uh-huh. Bigtime.

I’m here to tell you that since the Chesterfield Kings’ breakup after 2009’s Live Onstage … If You Want It frontman Greg Prevost has stood at the crossroads at midnight and shook Old Scratch’s hand – or something like that. I mean, Prevost has long been a serious rocker who knew how to raunch ‘n’ roll his way through the blues … but the Stackhouse Prevost we find on Mississippi Murderer is a total gee-tar-picking, harp-blowing, drawling/growling/roaring bluesman.

Oh, don’t worry – Prevost still rocks as hard as he ever did: “Too Much Junk” ricochets off both sides of the doorway as it slams into the room like Johnny Thunders in his prime; “Never Trust The Devil” is chock full of Page/Plant-style bumps and grinds (though it’s a Prevost original, as are 7 of the album’s 12 cuts); and “Get Myself Home” is a full-throttle-and-the-headlights-are-blown-but-who-gives-a-rat’s-ass boogie that John Lee Hooker would’ve loved. But the Greg Prevost of Mississippi Murderer isn’t playing a role to fit with a band – he’s playing his music, which is soaked, steeped, and sozzled in the blues; and if you don’t like it, baby, you best get out of the way. This son of a bitch is here to play.

As mentioned, Prevost returns to his guitar-playing roots on Mississippi Murderer – something his frontman post in the Kings took him away from. Electric or acoustic; crunchy rhythm work; wailing slide; greasy picking – Prevost can do it all, along with some ballsy blues harp.

And then there are Prevost’s Jagger/Johansen-style vocals that have always come naturally rather than sounding like the work of a talented impressionist. The Kings in their prime captured the Stones’ vibe, but they were far more than a Stones cover band. On Mississippi Murderer, Prevost tackles “I Ain’t Signifying” – an outtake from the Exile On Main Street sessions that didn’t see the official light of day until 2010’s Deluxe Exile package. Prevost’s version mixes just the right amount of recklessness and swagger with a tight arrangement loaded with nuts-on stop-and-go’s. At the risk of sounding blasphemous, one has to think that if the Stones had played “Signifying” this nasty in the basement of Nellcôte, it would have made the first-round cut.

Prevost’s partners in crime for Mississippi Murderer are bassist Alex Patrick (who co-produced the album with Prevost) and drummer Zachary Koch. The pair pull off everything from Bo Diddley butt grind (“Hey Gyp”) to Yardbirds-style rave-up (“Downstate New Yawk Blooze”) to the hungover Sunday morning countrified hoodoo of the aforementioned “I Ain’t Signifying”. Also on hand for a number of cuts is piano man Keenan Bartlett, who doles out Ian Stewart-style barrelhouse or Scott Thurston-style Stooge keys as duty calls.

Overall, Mississippi Murderer is a cool and fun listen – the soundtrack of a seasoned rock ‘n’ roll vet free to wear his own skin and play his own music. Deals with the devil aside, Greg Prevost has never sounded better.

*****

Brian Robbins keeps his rider by his side over at www.brian-robbins.com

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