Mitch Woods & Billy Gibson


Mitch Woods is easily one of the finest boogie pianists on the planet, and I would argue that he also incorporates wing-dinging swing, jumping blues, and gut-rocking rhythm & blues fury at its best. So we in New Orleans are especially proud that he has chosen to devote so much of his mega talents in honoring the great music and musicians of our city. He and the crack local musicians make that music sizzle like greasy onions, bell peppers, and shrimp for an especially tasty po-boy. From the first notes of GUMBO BLUES,those who ever heard old-time New Orleans blues and r&b knows they are in the EZ Chair of funky good times...and that’s not to say La-Z-Boy! In New Orleans we take our fun seriously! It takes years of hard work to perfect a perfect cradle of butt-bumping, beer-sloshing celebrating, and for non-natives capturing that magic is even harder. But Mitch Woods has pitched hip-switching around the globe many times. And one of his favorite stops is the Big Easy, where he visits often and is an adopted favorite son. . On GUMBO BLUES Mitch devotes the entire CD to New Orleans’ undeservedly forgotten master of shouting jump blues, Smiley Lewis, who is best known for having recorded the original versions of other peoples’ hits—namely Dave Edmunds’ “I Hear You Knocking,” Elvis Presley’s “One Night,” and Fats Domino’s “Blue Monday.” As the author of the (box set) biography on Smiley Lewis, I can attest to Mitch’s remarkably authentic revival of his music, with all of super tight musicianship and manic explosive intensity that marked Dave Bartholomew’s finest sessions. No one could ever duplicate Smiley’s weird foghorn voice, but Mitch’s muscular vocal cords make the songs very much his own. Fats Domino’s right-hand tenor man for over 60 years, Herbert Hardesty appears here, along with two young stallion saxophone standbys of Allen Toussaint’s band (who also appeared on his tour with Elvis Costello), Amadee Castenell and Brian “Breeze” Cayolle; they split the solos between them. Other New Orleans men here include Dr. John’s guitarist John Fohl, Jon Cleary’s bassist Cornell Williams and Bonerama (brass-hop anyone?) drummer Eric Bolivar. In short, if this music doesn’t move you Jack, you dead!

Artist Media

Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88's @ Umbria Jazz Festival


Mitch Woosa & Billy Gibson