Cadillac Walk
Review by Willard Manus

Here’s a big blast of classic r&b to lift you out of the Covid doldrums.
Jay Willie and his blues band got together with the legendary James Montgomery on CADILLAC WALK, a new release from Zoho Music. The combination catches fire immediately, resulting in a 10-track CD that sizzles from beginning to end. With Willie on guitar and Montgomery on harmonica (and both of them swapping vocals), it’s no mystery why the songs sound so good on this album, the musicianship as well.

Willie, leader of five previous releases on Zoho, has long been a fan of Detroit-born Montgomery. “In my younger days I first saw him perform locally around the New England circuit with his own bands,” Willie said. “He always had fantastic musicians that knew how to keep a funky groove...I felt there was a musical compatibility with our tastes in music...and that’s why I asked if he would participate in our latest release.”

Montgomery accepted the invitation and brought his powerful playing and singing to the party. He has not only fronted his own bands but toured with Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, B.B. King, Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker, to name but a few. He also has had an extensive history with some of Willie’s musical heroes and influences, such as Johnny Winter and James Cotton.

There are two Johnny Winter songs on CADILLAC WALK: “I’m Yours and I’m Hers” and “Mean Town Blues.” Both sound as fresh and compelling as when they first were written. Among the other numbers are “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” “Give Me One Reason” and “Detroit Blues.” First written and sung by Tampa Red, Montgomery makes the latter tune his own, thanks to his heartfelt vocalizing (and fiery harmonica riffs).

Another highlight is “Montgomery Boogie,” an instrumental number on which Willie and Montgomery come out of the blocks at full speed and don’t let up as they trade licks in classic, bad-ass fashion, backed up by Paul Opalach (on bass) and Bobby T Torello (on drums).

Great r & b; great record.