A dark and dirty debut album of delta blues and off-beat gothic lyrics from The Curse Of K K Hammond.
What do you get when you mix delta blues with gothic horror and drop it deep into a murky swamp somewhere? The answer is The Curse Of K K Hammond’s debut album ‘Death Roll Blues’ – nine tracks of down-home slide guitar, foot stomps, hand claps and dark, foreboding lyrics. There are in fact eleven tracks on the album but it starts and ends with ‘Swamp Thing’ featuring the sounds of the swamp and the guttural roar of the swamp thing itself – this is not somewhere you want to go to at night!
The album features the superb resonator slide guitar of K K Hammond – not sure what relevance the curse has – you’ll have to ask her. The majority of the tracks are slow, authentic sounding delta blues although she does lighten up a little on songs such as ‘Momento Mori’ and ‘The Bone Collector’ but on the whole, the feel of the album is slow and mournful which is what the delta blues is all about.
The songs cover a number of topics, most of which lean towards the dark side of the swamp. Hammond’s songs contain lyrics such as ‘The Spanish moss wraps round you and you’re not lost it found you. It pulls you down with the gators’ from ‘Death Roll Blues’, ‘I am a stealing cheating non-believing Jack of no trades. A no good rambling gambling girl’s purse grabbing robber of graves’ from ‘Mister Apology’, ‘The Bone Collector’s gonna come your way. He’ll plunge his wicked hands into your grave’ from ‘The Bone Collector’ and ‘Sex or dope or folly yeah he’ll get you the best. No problem if it’s murder or a little incest’ from ‘In the Dirty South’. This is at times X rated stuff and it takes you deep into the recesses of Hammond’s mind where resides a vivid, shadowy imagination that definitely leans towards the bleaker side of life.
Hammond’s slide guitar playing sounds as if she’s sitting on a porch somewhere in the deep south, entertaining the local bullfrogs and alligators whilst rocking in her chair. She sings very well too although at times her voice is a little too treated and back in the mix – it’s much nicer when she can be heard more clearly on tracks such as ‘In The Dirty South’ and the enigmatically titled, ‘Don’t Sell Your Sunshine For A Knife’.
Recorded in Hammond’s home studio somewhere in the frontwoods of the UK rather than in the backwoods of the Mississippi delta, she plays all the instruments herself as well as producing although the album was mixed and mastered by John Barratt and Oli Morgan at Abbey Road. There is one other musician who plays on ‘Death Roll Blues’ and that’s David & The Devil – who else?!
K K Hammond is definitely not cursed and if the delta blues, consummate slide guitar playing and lyrics from the dark side are your kind of thing, then do give ‘Death Roll Blues’ a listen but maybe keep the lights on when you do.
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