MOJO WATSON Inheritance Watashea 1967 It's hardly the traditional blues background: Before taking up music full time, guitarist and singer Mojo Watson was - wait for it a computer consultant. On the other hand, Inheritance is aptly titled; the 12 songs on Watson's Watashea Records release were written by his father, and they're solidly rooted in the electric Chicago sound, with a Little Rock 'n' roll thrown in. And anyway, shouldn't the quality of the performance count for something? By that standard, Watson's the real deal. His sound is reminiscent of Big Bill Morganfield's - hardly surprising, as Watson cites Muddy Waters among his primary influences and the influence of Chuck Berry, Buddy Guy, and Jimi Hendrix also can be heard in Watson's renditions of these songs. However, Inheritance is hardly an example of slavish devotion: It's hard to explain just why or how, but there's a sense that he's made these songs his own. Perhaps it's his solid, confident performance, or the simple fact that he sings the lyrics as though he means them. In addition, there's a smoothness to Watson's style that's more common to contemporary blues, but he never lays it on too thick, instead letting the material speak for itself. In short, Watson has managed the difficult trick of standing out without overdoing anything. If the sentiments he expresses - suffering, disappointment, and loss - are hardly uncommon, his message is uplifting. Consider this lyric from 'This Is a Cold Cruel World': 'you know people are gonna talk about you/From day to day, and in any way/But you got to keep on and keep on trying/No matter what the people may do or say.' And when he does decide to dwell on the negative, the result is thoughtful and well-considered; 'Keep Away From Me Judas' and 'We're Going Down' are intelligent glimpses of life's darker side. It'll be interesting to see what happens when Watson gives us some of his own material to chew on, but in the meantime, Inheritance is both nutritious and satisfying. -Blues Review Magazine August/September 2002.
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