Album Review

foreign + home grown = explosion

Muddy Gurdy - Muddy Gurdy 

Muddy Gurdy 

Muddy Gurdy



   This was something that came in to the house completely unknown in any way shape or form; there was no advanced word about it, no tear sheet in the package, absolutely nothing other than here you are, some Cds in the mail!  When the Cds got here and were opened and laid out the name MUDDY GURDY stood out as well as the photography and beautiful art work on the disc.  It stood out because it was subtle and totally unknown, a complete lack of hype. The other two discs in the package were more traditional looking and there were definite names of bands and album titles, too be honest I still don’t know as I am writing this if MUDDY GURDY is the name given to the group or the title of the disc?  Question just now answered it is both, eponymous!


   This is a three person French group that came to the States with the idea of recording an Album with the blues players that populate the North Mississippi Hill Country:  what they wound up doing was getting a new name, Muddy Gurdy (they were The Hypnotic Wheels; Tia Gouttelebel {guitar, vocals}, Gilles Chanenat {hurdy-gurdy}, and Marco Glomeau {percussion}), introducing an old French instrument to the people of the Hill Country, and making a damn fine disc that blends traditional French and Blues musics, probably the only one with a hurdy-gurdy on it.  Now you are probably wondering ‘I’ve heard of a hurdy-gurdy, but exactly what the Hell is it?’   According to Wikipedia “The hurdy-gurdy is a stringed instrument that produces sound by a hand crank-turned, rosined wheel rubbing against the strings.”  For the full story look it up, there is much more detail.


   Then you start with some very muffled sounds for about half a minute that don’t really make any sense, and then there is the real start of the disc with the second song.  We won’t ruin all the surprises the disc has to offer, and they are many.  If you are familiar with the North Mississippi Hill Country Blues, this is it as played Cedric Burnside, Sharde Thomas, Cameron Kimbrough,  and Pat Thomas and the talent from both sides of the Atlantic is immense.  This was not recorded in fancy studios in Memphis or Nashville but on back-porches, at people’s farms, and old clubs like the Ebony Club, places that retain the vibrations of the sounds made all those years ago.  If you love Blues you will probably have trouble getting it out of your changer.  This is a disc that you will play for friends and other music people who you wish to turn on to something new/old and exciting.


by  bob gottlieb