Jim Byrnes has collaborated with Steve Dawson for 10 years now on 6 albums and they just keep betting better. Byrnes here covers and writes songs from and about his home of St. Louis as he ap- proaches his 50th year as a musician and celebrates St, Louis’ 250th year. We have songs from Chuck Berry, Stump Johnson, Little Milton, Peetie Wheatstraw and oth- ers. We have Byrnes on vocals and gui- tar, Dawson on an assortment of guitars, Darryl Havers on keys, Jerry Holmes on bass, and Geoff Hicks on drums. John Hammond stopped in for a few cuts and Colin James makes an appearance as does Coleen Rennison and a host of oth- ers.
Albert King’s “I Get Evil” opens things and Byrnes is obviously ready. Dawson’s gui- tar slides nicely as Haver plays organ and Hammond does some way overblown harp. Dawson slides us into an original as the same group does Byrne’s “Somebody Lied.” It’s another nice effort; Byrnes really delivers feeling and passion in his vocals here and throughout the album and Dawson shows us some more stellar gui- tar work. “Nadine, honey is that you?” is a line folks of my age all know; Byrnes gives Berry’s tune his own treatment and does it up well. He alternates back and forth to originals and follows “Nadine” with “Old Dog, New Tricks.” Dawson does pedal stell on this and the prior cut and Tom Colclough adds clarinet. It’s a somewhat ethereal and very cool piece and the clari- net is one of the coolest aspects as it adds so much to the song. Rennison joins Byrnes on vocals here for a romping good song about breakups. The organ takes us to church and the horn section with a tenor sax solo is really sweet here. “The Duck’s Yas Yas Yas” delivers it’s bunch of risqué inferences as Byrnes and Hammond share the delivery. Hammond also adds some old style harp. Bill Huber blos some trombone and tuba that is slick and Jim Hoke switches from tenor sax to clarinet here. Dawson’s National tricone sounds nice and Steve Herman’s trumpet adds punch. Havers’ piano is also solid again.