Jim Byrnes goes back to the starting point with St. Louis Times, revisiting the music that he heard growing up in the Missouri city that led him to become a musician.
The album is rooted in the blues as Byrnes kicks off the album with a swinging version of “I Get Evil,” a standard that’s been recorded by artists ranging from Tampa Red to the Blasters. Byrnes and John Hammond trade verses on “The Duck’s Yas Yas Yas,” which is enhanced by a Dixieland brass arrangement and producer Steve Dawson’s guitar.
Byrnes and Colleen Rennison deliver a spirited duet on “You’ll Miss Me (When I’ Gone),” trading good-natured barbs on the remake of the 1965 hit by Fontella Bass and Bobby McClure. Darryl Havers’ percolating Wurlitzer is a highlight of Byrnes’ version of Chuck Berry’s “Nadine.”
As a songwriter, Byrnes holds his own with his mentors. “The Journey Home” is a recitation on his life as a boy growing up in St. Louis that makes good use of his vocal skills. Byrne is a longtime actor and was a regular on the TV series Wiseguy. “I Need a Change” is a soul-drenched ballad that gives Byrnes a chance to stretch out vocally. St. Louis Times shows a man can go home again, at least musically.