When someone’s had the kind of career that Elvin Bishop has had, he can pretty much do what he wants. Recently he unleashed Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio on the world, an album where he collaborated with Willy Jordan on cajon and vocals and Bob Welsh on guitar and piano for a second release, Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here.
Aside the trio having some fun with a few originals, they also do covers of Jackie Wilson’s (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher and Ann Peebles I Can’t Stand The Rain, among others.
The album jumps right in with the title track, Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here. True to its name, the song is filled with funk from the bass and the vocals, and the lyrics pull no punches. It’s a wake-up call for those who might not yet be awake.
They follow up with their take on Wilson’s classic song, (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher. It’s a solid cover that while not having Wilson’s pyrotechnics delivers a highly satisfying version that relies on guitar, percussion, and great vocals. It’s a fun song that should appeal to those who love their rock.
The next song, Right Now Is The Hour, was written by Bishop and it has a nice shuffle approach. It has the feel of a song that would be appropriate in the living room, front porch, or stage. There’s a lot of energy in the song and the lyrics ae strong.
Another Mule starts off slow and low and delivers a good old school number. This is a song that all blues fans can get behind, it’s got all the ingredients, especially sweet guitar, good lyrics, and some classic blues images. Sweet song that should be showing up on Time For The Blues soon.
The trio teamed up to write the next number, That’s The Way Willy Likes It. It’s got a fun beat supplied by Jordan’s cajon and Bishop’s guitar. I can only imagine this song was born out of the guys jamming in a studio searching for a groove that would transform into a full-blown song. This is the result.
Welsh wrote the next song, Bob’s Boogie, and he delivers a scintillating boogie run on the piano. This is honkytonk blues at its best, just a handful of guys playing for all their worth. I would be surprised to see any audience member stay in his or her chair when this song starts playing. Great instrumental!
Peebles’ I Can’t Stand The Rain follows. Dark and mysterious, the song delivers a powerful punch. It’s a strong cover that should satisfy most listeners. Another Bishop number, Stomp, is next. This instrumental is long on guitar and percussion. Bishop and Welsh trade off licks and the song builds nicely.
The last Bishop tune, Lookin’ Good, is a slow burn of a song. It’s a story of growing older and how life changes you. As someone who has grown older without growing up, this story song is the absolute truth. I won’t look at my aging self with sadness anymore. Thanks Elvin! Keep rocking, will ya?
The album ends on My Soul, a zydeco style song that features their one guest, Andre Theirry on accordion. It’s a joyous number that sends the listener out on a high note. So much fun, and a great way to cap off a fine album.
Something Smells Funky ‘Round Here is an economical album, 10 songs that run about 40 minutes, and while you go from first note to last quickly, the material is so much fun, you may just find yourself hitting the repeat button a couple of more times.