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What You See

by: Super Chikan

Album Artwork

(Fat Possum Records)

The Mississippi based Fat Possum Records has a knack for finding artists that are trapped in a another time. Their rediscoveries of Junior Kimbrough and RL Burnside helped to renew blues by bringing it closer to its roots. In the wake of Kimbrough's death and Burnside recent health problems, the label has found another standard bearer.

James "Super Chikan" Johnson, the son of bluesman Jack Johnson, displays a unique brand of blues, soul and funk that differs from his father, but never loses the power of the porch. Without a single sample or digital instrument, he has created the downhome party record.

On the title track which sounds like Superfly living in a tar paper shack, the Chikan puts funk through his country blues blender. Other songs like "Ain't Nobody" and the instrumental "El Camino" capture his take on early 50's R&B. Super Chikan uses his wonderfully soulful, Ted Hawkins-like voice to style hop with ease even throwing in some country yodeling on "Big Boy Now", a humorous song about his love for country music as a young boy.

With the same time warped success that Kimbrough and Burnside played the country blues of Robert Johnson, Super Chikan leads the next generation embracing the R&B form that followed those country blues. In the process, he has made a record that outfunks anything that Beck and the Dust Brothers have in their digital bag. This record alone could give pause to the use of technology in music beyond 2000.

- Jim Markel

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