THE NASHVILLE BLUES SOCIETY REVIEW OF BULLETS IN THE BONFIRE

IKO IKO

BULLETS IN THE BONFIRE, VOL. 1

THE SONGS OF GRAHAM WOOD DROUT

LITTLE SILVER RECORDS

PARTY CAR–(I NEVER HAD AN) AMERICAN DREAM–CELEBRATION–DON’T MESS WITH THE VOODOO (LIVE)–MILLER’S WOODS–LATE HOURS (INST)–PET DE KAT–SNOWSTORM IN THE JUNGLE–TOO HIGH TO DRIVE–JALAPENO BE THY NAME–WALK WITH THE ZOMBIE–RIDING ON THE RIMS–MOTHERLESS CHILDREN (LIVE)–GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI (WITH ALBERT CASTIGLIA)–THE DAY THE OLD MAN DIED (WITH ALBERT CASTIGLIA)

Iko Iko, led by Graham Wood Drout, are truly a Florida legend. They held court at the Miami blues venue “Tobacco Road” for thirty years, and, when Jimmy Buffett needed a band for his musical, Don’t Stop The Carnival,” these guys were his choice. They began their recording career back in 1988 on the King Snake label with “Snowstorm In The Jungle,” and their current CD, “Bullets In The Bonfire, Vol. 1,” is a career retrospective that covers their works for King Snake and Little Silver Records.

Early on in their career, Graham’s songs had a bit of a harder edge, as evidenced by the aforementioned “Snowstorm In The Jungle,” but the seeds were sown for the “urban swamp music” that would come to define the music of this highly-eclectic band. As the band grew in popularity, Graham began to write material that encouraged folks to get up and dance, and there are plenty of those in this collection. Songs such as “Pet De Kat,” “Party Car,’ and a cool coming-of-age song about shooting bottle rockets and smoking marijuana down on the Gulf Coast, “I Never Had An American Dream,” are guaranteed to get you in the mood for Mardi Gras.

“Miller’s Woods,” and “Walk With The Zombie” explore Graham’s penchant for songs that deal with the hoodoo and voodoo of that part of the country, the latter featuring an excellent solo from guitar man Larry Williams. Graham also does a deep-blues version of “Motherless Children,” with his vocal set over a sparse arrangement, also adding to its swampy, eerie feel.

We had several favorites, too. “Jalapeno Be Thy Name” is a spicy splash of zydeco that pays tribute to everybody’s favorite pepper! And, Bob Hemphill’ss harp and Nick Kane’s guitar lead the way on a brilliant ode to the classic instrumentals of Little Walter, “Late Hours.”

Graham has had a long and successful collaboration with fellow Florida bluesman Albert Castiglia, who appears on two cuts. “The Ghosts Of Mississippi meet the gods of Africa, down where the Southern cross the ‘Dog” in this fine acoustic history lesson. And Graham joins the whole band behind Albert to close out the party with “The Day The Old Man Died.”

Graham Wood Drout writes songs that not only will put you in a “party car” mood, but they also capture the feel of life down along the Gulf, and how that gumbo of blues, swamp, soul and rock and roll makes everyone who’s a fan enjoy the whole experience at a more relaxed pace. “Bullets In The Bonfire, Vol. 1,” is a great introduction to this classic songwriter! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.