Alabama Slim & Little Freddie King – The Mighty Flood
When Hurricane Katrina struck, Milton “Alabama Slim” Frazier and his cousin Little Freddie King made it out of New Orleans with their lives but not much else. The story of their encounter with the storm is related in the two versions of the Mighty Flood that bookend this disc’s dozen selections and give it its name.
Slim, who takes the vocals on all but two tracks, comes by his nickname honestly- he was born and raised in Huntsville, Alabama and stands almost seven feet tall. As harrowing as his account of Katrina is, it gains power from its understated delivery (like John Lee Hooker’s Tupelo, on which it was modeled). Slim also employs the device of updating an old blues theme by transforming “Tin Pan Alley” into “Crack Alley.”
The other tracks include a version of Mr. Charlie by the way of Lightnin’ Hopkins, a Going Upstairs that_s loosely based on Howlin’ Wolf’s “No Place to Go”, and “I Got The Blues”, which bears a faint resemblance to Buddy Guy’s “Dam Right I’ve Got The Blues.” These, and all of Slim’s other performances, owe their primary stylistic debt to Hooker and Hopkins, with King supplying most of the guitar work and Slim adding simple rhythm patterns on some cuts. The occasional assist from varying combinations of harmonica, bass, and drums is unnecessary but unobtrusive, though it helps add drive to King’s gospel piece “Lord, I’m Good For Something.”
His other lead, on “I Don’t Know What To Do”, is a moody number cut from much the same cloth as his cousin’s efforts. This is one of those rare albums where the listener enjoys the sensation of sitting in on a private gathering of friends playing and singing with and for one another. -Jim Dekoster, Living Blues