When beatboxing harp player Son Of Dave warns that he’s going to ‘Kick Your Butt’ on the opening track of his new album, he ain’t fooling around. It’s shuffling and snuffly, with hints of ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’ along the way, but in its primitively, unconventionally hypnotic sorta way, it’s fit to make you a slave to the rhythm – but, of course, a very different rhythm from Grace Jones.
|Son Of Dave prepares to eat harmonica
‘I’m Going Monkey For Your Love’ combines a chugging rhythm, rat-a-tat vocalising and injections of piano to become irresistibly hip-swivelling. It’s funky as all hell, worthy of Mia Wallace paying a return visit to Jackrabbit Slim’s and yanking Vince Vega onstage for another twist competition. And if that sounds retro, then in its own warped way ‘Knock Off’ resurrects the spirit of Louis Jordan, even Louis Prima maybe, with a vibe taking in nagging and swinging harp, more rinky-dink piano, jungle drum fills and even snatches of scat. If you wanna be a cat who knows where it’s at, then this is the juke joint daddy-o.
There’s more focus on the lyrics with ‘F That Daily Mail’ – a title to warm the cockles of my heart, the “F” cheekily delivered with a toot of harmonica. It’s not so much a rant as a sardonic sideswipe about the “old man selling lies to the suckers”, set to an easy groove that gradually gets more emphatic, a subterranean bass line contrasting with tinkles of piano and falsetto harmonies to provide witty extra colour.
There are work song roots to the slower ‘Remaining Days’, but the closing ‘Jump Hoops’ underlines the blues roots of SOD’s sound more clearly, being a stop-time grooving throwback to John Lee Hooker’s – but delivered in Son Of Dave’s stripped back, harp-led, off-kilter fashion.
Of course, you may listen to the ten tracks and 27 minutes or so of Call Me King and, such is Son Of Dave’s idiosyncratic style, and you may conclude that none of the above accurately represents what you hear. Which is fine. But I bet your feet will still be tapping.
Call Me King is released by Goddamn Records on 8 April 2022, and can be ordered here.