Hurd is a larger-than-life persona, and it was obvious that he had to move on and do his own thing. And do his own thing he did. Enter Daddy Long Legs, with his towering, string bean body and wispy afro top, chock full of blues licks and yelps that must have come with him from his native St. Louis.
This isn’t to say New York has nothing to do with it. His partners in crime, drummer Josh Styles, who I remembered from The Stalkers, and Murat Akturk—one of the most convincing Johnnie Thunders pre-nasty heroin downfall guitarists turned blues sliders (and also formerly of The Electric Shadows)—know a good tune or two. And with Daddy Long Legs on harp and vocals, tearing it up, track after track, you’ve got a winner.
Daddy Long Leg’s debut on Norton Records, Evil Eye On You, does not disappoint. Although it mostly wallows in the blues, any fan of traditional rock ‘n’ roll will tell you that’s where the magic started anyway. And it’s always nice when an album has a good through line that tells a story. This is the tale of Daddy Long Legs and his mates conjuring up the soundtrack to a rollicking backwoods BBQ.
Track one, “Death Train Blues,” starts with gritty, dirty harp, slide guitar and tambourine. It sounds vintage, as if a repurposed Robert Johnson. “I Feel So Electric” has a nice guitar and stripped down drum opening, while the vocals remind me of “Roadhouse Blues” by The Doors. With “Happy Home,” I hear former garage rock influence by the likes of The Sonics and The Downliners Sect.
“Shackin’ Up” is peppier, upbeat, and a little like old Bob Dylan. Whereas Lux Interior from The Cramps can be imagined with “You’ll Be Mine,” including some nice slide work. The center track “Witch Hunt” serves as a bristling conduit to the remaining tracks, veering from snakebite or an exorcism, with nice yelps and harp. The sting continues with “Trouble (Always Come My Ways),” along with hoops, hollers and rowdy crowd jeers. Once it gets going, it takes off with tambourine and full instrumentation. Love the muffled vocal effects.
“Sittin’ Shotgun” is mid-tempo, and keeps the album chugging along. The pounding, biting, “Comin’ After Me” (recorded previously by greats like The Flamin’ Groovies and DMZ) has good Stonesy backing vocals and callback harp. I found “Candy Sue” to be a nice reprieve, with groovy, danceable, beats that really got my booty shaking. “Thirty Days” is a lively romp, and I can almost imagine a gaggle of train jumpers singing the refrain. The closer, “Evil Eye,” really seals in the down and dirty swampy feel.
Get yer copy at the Norton Records site: http://www.nortonrecords.com/lps_new.php. Now if we can just get Daddy Long Legs to come down to play in Norfolk like they’ve been threatening to…