The Big Show contains ten tracks by an assortment of artists including: singer Papa J & guitarist Glen “HoundDog” Anderson, Blues Gone South, The Flames and Lance Dieckmann. The album opens on “Checking Up On My Baby”. This one quickly sets the mood to an album that is dedicated to and recorded by artists who love the blues.
The second selection is a cover of John Lee Hooker’s “Dimples”. It picks up where the first track leaves off and all too soon leads into the next noteworthy number “Farther Up The Road”. One needn’t be a hardcore blues fan to appreciate the effort and honesty these performers put into their performances.
Witness the power of “Evil” which features the powerful vocal stylings of Michelle Cole and the keyboard work of Terry Lawrence. It’s a very expressive, meaningful performance. Also included here is “Little By Little” which–while good on its own right–is unfortunately all too quickly overshadowed by Anderson’s version of Albert King’s “Laundromat”.
This one is the “Critic’s Choice”. Here Anderson excels at bringing to mind a picture of a bluesman who can pull songs out of thin air in the most musically mundane of locales. (It sure explains why your rockin’ reviewer meets a lot of needy ladies at the local Laundromat.)
“Love Me Like A Man”—perhaps the “newest number” written by Bonnie Raitt—and “She’s Got A Ring In His Nose” are perfectly paired and placed together. They effectively pose two different yet perhaps equally valid points of view on a problem perhaps as old as time: relationships between men and women.
“Slip, Stumble & Fall” is yet another classic covered here. In fact, most if not all of these tunes should be familiar to even a novice blues fan. The closing cut, “Women Be Wise”, is an impressive yet all too soon ending to the recording reminding one and all of what we all have in life.
The Big Show brings to mind mental images of a smoke-filled, old school blues club where people somehow celebrate in sharing their blues. Indeed, with its live feel, variety of artist and an authentic desire to faithfully tip their tuneful hats to Willie Dixon, Junior Wells, Sippie Wallace, Sonny Boy Williamson II and other greats of the blues genre, Papa J & friends are winning over music aficionados “Little By Little”.