SOUTHBOUND (2011)
Mississippi rhythm & blues harp

"[A] veritable one-man Delta hammer....a schooled diatonic wizard" --Living Blues magazine

 

   #1 on the Roots Music Report "Mississippi:  Roots Radio Airplay Chart" for the weeks of March 2, March 30, April 6, April 13, April 20, April 27, and May 4, 2012

   #43 on the Roots Music Report national "Top 50 Blues Albums" chart for the week of April 6, 2012; #38 for the week of April 20; #47 for the week of April 27; #34 for the week of May 4.......

   Southbound is the title of Adam Gussow’s new solo album, the title of the opening track, and the story of Gussow’s life.

   A stalwart of the New York City blues scene for many years as the harmonica-playing half of the duo Satan and Adam, Gussow relocated to Oxford, Mississippi almost a decade ago.  In 2010 he surprised the blues world with his clanking, driving, rough-edged solo debut, Kick and Stomp.  “[R]ooted deep in the blues,” wrote the reviewer for Living Blues,  Kick And Stomp adds…a unique and captivating new chapter to Gussow’s 35-year professional musical career.”

   Now, with Southbound, Gussow ups the ante once again.  Nine of the album’s eleven cuts were tracked in one-man band mode, but all of them have been bluesed, funked, and jazzed up with the help of Mississippi’s best session men—including another New York outmigrant, Bronx-born bassist Jerry Jemmott, “the groovemaster” celebrated for his work with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, B. B. King, King Curtis, and the Allman Brothers.

   Those who know Gussow as a harmonica player will be surprised to find out that he plays guitar on more than half the tracks.  “I was as passionate about guitar as harmonica during my late teens,” notes Gussow.  “I worked my way through college in a jazz/funk sextet and studied jazz guitar at Berklee.  Larry Carlton, Eric Clapton, Joe Pass, Dickey Betts, and B. B. King were my heroes.”

   All these regional and stylistic influences are evident in the richness of Southbound’s offerings, which range from urban and country blues (“Tore Down,” “C. C. Rider,” “You Don’t Have to Go”) through contemporary smooth-jazz instrumentals by trumpeters Chris Botti (“Why Not”) and Rick Braun (“Green Tomatoes”) that Gussow has roughed up and reclaimed.  With Jemmott’s help, Gussow transforms South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela’s 1968 pop-jazz favorite, “Grazing in the Grass” into a down home disco groove with some bump-in-the-trunk. 

   Gussow’s harp virtuosity shines on two tracks:  a bluesy remake of the “Sanford and Son” theme song (with Mississippi jazz man Bill Perry, Jr. on keyboards) and “Alley Cat,” an early 1960s lounge hit by Danish pianist Bent Fabric that becomes an overblown-strewn workout. 

   Southbound is anchored not just by the title track, a harmonica-powered version of the Allman Brothers’s classic, but by two of Gussow’s original compositions.  “Home to Mississippi” celebrates the life of a traveling musician with a rockabilly groove and some juke-joint harp.  “Old McDonald in Mississippi” slyly re-envisions the familiar nursery rhyme as a double-entendre, adults-only meditation on "frolicking rural farmlife" in the Deep South.

   Marking the arrival of a mature talent with a Harlem pedigree and an expansive vision of the dirty-South blues, Southbound solidifies Gussow’s reputation as one of the most powerful and accomplished harmonica players in the world today.

   11 tracks, 42 minutes.  Only $10, which includes complete "print-and-trim" liner notes in PDF form.  The harp keys for all songs are included in the liner notes, in case you'd like to jam along.

   Southbound is available in two digital forms, both of which are sold as zip files at Tradebit.  Hit either link and you'll be taken to the appropriate purchase page at Tradebit, where you can access a free preview of nine songs:

Southbound mp3s

Southbound WAVs

 

The complete album and the individual songs are also available as a download at iTunes and Amazon mp3s.  (If you purchase from those retailers, of course, you don't get the liner notes, but you may want to check their purchase pages out in order to access their convenient song-by-song previews.) 

Finally, the album is available as a hard-copy CD.  I ship the CD to you in a bubble-pack mailer.  Please allow 10-14 days for USA addresses and 14 days for Canada and all overseas addresses.

Click HERE to order Southbound for USA delivery

Click HERE to order Southbound for international delivery

 

From LIVING BLUES magazine (April 2012:

     "Reading the detailed, autobiographial liner notes to Adam Gussow's Southbound, it sure feels like the guy's made the album he's been working towards for a lifetime.  Gussow, who perhaps most notably was half of the Harlem blues duo Satan & Adam (along with guitarist Sterling Magee) for over a decade, is a veritable one-man Delta hammer.  He's a schooled diatonic wizard, who performs with a bass drum at his feet.

     "Southbound not only owes a debt to Gussow's formative past (as in his inclusion of the Dickey Betts-penned title track, which helped spark a lifelong blues odyssey), but to more recent inspirations like the jazz vamp Old McDonald in Mississippi which Gussow crafted in response to a 'good-ole boy' radio exchange down south.  Gussow's cerebral wit and irrepressible Delta hooks are the rocks upon which Southbound is built--think James Cotton's warbling excitement and R.L. Burnside's grifter stomp, tied up with Lightnin' Hopkins' dustbowl charm, and you've got the Adam Gussow sound.

     "In addition to the aforementioned material, Gussow includes a steady-handed, rambling boogie cover of Jimmy Reed's You Don't Have to Go, a favorite of the blues jams Gussow cut his teeth on back in New York City.  C. C. Rider is flavored with Gussow's classic Satan & Adam arrangement, a kick drum so frenetic that Gussow's harp competes to keep up with his own toe-tipped rhythm.  Sonny Thompson's I'm Tore Down is a more organic and vocally aerobatic cover than other notables throughout the years.  Minimal extraneous instrumentation is given to other tracks, like Bill Perry's inspired keys on a backyard-rave take on the Sanford and Son Theme.

     "Seasoned harmonica brilliance, reading like a map of Gussow's musical high-points, the harp wiz says he's 'hungrier than ever to find out' what his music's about.  He may still be on that journey of discovery, but the listener will get there with a couple of repeat listens."