Rick Hatfield

& The Jumpin' Bobcats

The Frill Is Gone

True confession time, boys and girls .... I probably should have squeezed this on in last month. On the other hand, I'm more familiar with the disc now, 'cause I listen to it a lot!

Rick Hatfield has put together an unusual and distinctive sound, featuring both harmonica and fiddle as lead instruments...sometimes in harmony. The band also features acoustic guitar, bass, and drums, and some enjoyable intelligible vocals. (This is the first time I've understood the "gold tooth - telephone booth" verse of "Flip, Flop and Fly"). Rick and Co. do some interesting takes on Blues standards, as well as some good original tunes, and of course, the train song.

The CD kicks of with "Play Mitzy For Me" ...an instrumental showpiece for harp and fiddle, and a primmer on the Jumpin' Bobcat's sound. The tune is a jazz-flavored 12-bar Blues, done with an original and tasty instrumentation and arrangement.

The three Blues "standards" on the recording are very enjoyable; once you accept that Rick has another way of doing things.....And it's a GOOD way. I love "Flip-Flop"! "Cherry Red & Blue" is a classic song of love lost, and he might even miss the girl. OK, Blues guys ain't supposed to drive cars like this, but I helped a friend crossbreed a Healy 3000 drive train with a 100/6 chassis, and you learn to love 'em, Lucas electricals and all!

I guess if you put a gun to my head I'd have to say this isn't "pure" Blues, but it's musically tight, well recorded, and just a lot of fun...Check it out at Rickhatfield.com

- George Willett
Suncoast Blues Society Issue #40 March/April 2004