Floyd Dixon – Time Brings About A Change
Blue Heart Records
17 songs – 77 minutes
Floyd Dixon died at the age of 77 in 2006, just 55 days after recording this live celebration of his music and what a celebration it is. Guitar genius, Kid Ramos, was asked to pull together a backing band at short notice for the event and, boy, did he deliver. Perhaps the best blues rhythm section of the last 50 years, Richard Innes and Larry Taylor from the Hollywood Fats Band, handle the drums and bass respectively. Another Fats alumnus, Fred Kaplan contributes organ to a couple of songs. Ramos’ old bandmate from The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Kim Wilson, adds harmonica to six songs. Troy Jennings, Steve Marsh and Joe Banks are a dream horn section. Guest musicians Pinetop Perkins and Henry Gray sing and play piano on three tracks each. And Johnny Tucker lends his magnificent croak to “Do You Want To Dance?”. Ramos handles the guitar chores with his customary taste, tone and class. Together these stellar musicians display their love and respect for Dixon by providing superb support without ever intruding on the star of the show.
Recorded at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix, Arizona on 01 and 02 June 2006, with pristine engineering by Clarke Rigsby and Aaron Feller of Tempest Recordings and mastering by David Shirl of Sonorous Mastering, Time Brings About A Change was also released as a DVD (which is also an essential purchase, frankly). The crowd are loud and and noisy in their appreciation but never intrude upon the music itself. As one would expect from a live performance, there are plenty of solos (Wilson and Ramos in particular) but rarely for more than a verse or two.
The band comes roaring out of the blocks with a turbo-charged version of Albert Collins’ “Don’t Lose Your Cool” with the horn section absolutely cooking. Gray and Perkins perform well-worn classics like “Sweet Home Chicago”, “Dust My Broom”, “Come Back Baby” and “Down In Mississippi” – perhaps reflecting the limited amount of rehearsal time the musicians had together, but the performances never dip into jam territory. There is a tightness and groove to every performance that one would expect from musicians of this quality.
On the nine songs on which Dixon appears, his voice may crack at times but his piano playing is still strong. And when the band is swinging as these boys do on tracks like “Hole In The Wall” (with a superb solo from Jennings), it’s hard to complain. Dixon mixes well-known covers such as “Caledonia” and “Cold, Cold Feeling” (Ramos channeling T-Bone Walker as only Ramos can) with choice selections from his own back catalogue such as “Call Operator 210”.
Two particular highlights are the title track and the closing track. Who knows if Dixon knew how little time he had left, but the gentle, loving wistfulness of “Time Brings About A Change” and “(So Long) Gee I Hate To See You Go” is almost heartbreaking.
Since this recording, of course, we have sadly lost not only Dixon, but also Perkins, Gray, Innes and Taylor. Time does indeed bring about a change but thanks to records such as Time Brings About A Change, we have magic like this to remind of the genius of those who have passed on.
If you haven’t heard this before, you should do yourself a favour and grab a copy immediately. It’s brilliant.
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