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Brian Harman Reviews "Lessons"

Seth was born in Fort Worth and grew up on a working ranch in West Texas. His grandfather was a known honky tonk piano player in the Texas clubs of the 40’s and 50’s, while his father played his gold sparkle Slingerland drums across the Lone Star State.  He was given a Gibson, Southern Jumbo, guitar, from his father and few lessons from him, to go with it. From this point on, Seth was set on his career in music.

Seth began to teach himself how to play the guitar by listening to artists such as; Lightnin’ Hopkins, Freddie King, and Credence Clearwater Revival. When in 1996, he obtained a Fender Stratocaster; he became more than aware of the potential of an electrified guitar.

Being a long time devotee of the music of Delbert McClnton, it was only a matter of time before he delved into Delbert’s catalogue and delivered a musical collection of tunes from his hero’s vast catalogue of music.

To bring his tribute to fruition he called upon the services of Kevin McKendree, who is not only a fine keyboard player and guitarist but also, a celebrated producer, songwriter and engineer who also has worked with Delbert for over 25 years.

James & McKendree invited an all-star band for the recording sessions, to The Rock House studios, Franklin, Tennessee.  Artists included were; Lynn Williams; drums, Steve Mackey; bass, and Rob McNelley on guitar. The horn section is Vinnie Ciesielski; trumpet, John Hinchey; trombone and Jim Hoke; saxophones with Nick Jay and Alice Spencer providing backing vocals.

The proceedings begin with a solemn, short spoken word rendition of ‘The Glamour of Life’, and then the music rips into ‘Honky Tonkin. (I Guess I Done Me Some)’, has a blasting intro of scorching organ and rising horns and then settles into an easygoing, almost funky, “Honky Tonk”, groove.

If, there is such an expression as An Unapologetic, enjoyably Hangdog, “it wasn’t my fault”, vocal, then Seth, certainly has it.  

‘Real Good Itch’, has an enticing, goodtime blues twanging guitar feel throughout, with laid back piano and a lovely slapping percussion. ‘Whose Fooling Who’, is an enjoyable loose soul fuelled, funky groover with slowly smoking organ and a lazy guitar entices.  The trampling, loose limbed inviting blues horns of ‘Maybe, Someday Baby’, rolls along, as the laidback guitar and piano strolls on. On the haunting, ‘The Rub’, the mellow organ and guitar, slowly rolls on as “tumbleweed” would, as a messy tale of murder unfolds.

‘Morgan City Fool’, is another fine example of sordid tales of murder, delivered as an easygoing, swamp sticky, southern foot-tapper. The swinging percussion, rolling piano and twanging guitar on ‘Victim Of Life’s Circumstances’, delivers another enjoyably jolly tale of murder and mayhem. Sweet, rising soulful horns drive ‘Lesson In The Pain Of Love’, while an enticingly slow piano and grooving funky guitar ride along. The toe tapping ‘Ruby Louise’, is a splendid horn driven, soul infused piano roller. As is, ‘B Movie Boxcar’, but on a much grander scale, the blasting horns, ending solos could well be a tribute to “The Blues Brothers”. The slowburning organ and piano led ballad, ‘Take It Easy’, displays a vocal, which is full of remorse, disappointment, pain and honesty.


Brian Harman.

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