The Blues is a timeless art form. It hasn’t stayed exactly the same over the years, what with technology and all, but it still comes down to the basic blend of three chords and the truth. “Takin’ & Givin’” the latest release by Kansas City’s Levee Town, nails this basic blend, but also spices it up with various influences and dynamics to create a Blues album that is both classic and modern without going overboard in either direction. At times there is a little country flavor, a little swing, a little boogie, a little jazz, a little funk, but it is all very much Blues from beginning to end. The CD features founding members Brandon Hudspeth on guitar and vocals and Jacque Garoutte on bass and vocals as well as Adam Hagerman on drums and a few guests including fellow LT co-founder Jimmie Meade playing harmonic on a few tracks.
The set starts out with the title track that is a mid-tempo shuffle with a slight country-blues slant. “High Flyin’ Mama” follows with a funky-Blues groove that is reminiscent of Albert Collins’ Alligator recordings from the 80’s. Track four is an uptempo swing styled number called “Mr. Jameson” about the wonders and the after effects of some fine Irish spirits. Another highlight is the sweet, mellow slow Blues number “Sunday Afternoon” which features guest vocalist Jaisson Taylor as well as keyboardists Annie Walser and Chris Hazelton and some outstanding guitar tone from Mr. Hudspeth. The closing track, “El Grape” is a somewhat trad jazzy instrumental that features the outstanding brushwork on the drums from Adam Hagerman.
In all, “Takin’ & Givin’” is some excellent home cooking by an experienced, well seasoned band, and it’s also the KC Blues Society submission to the Best Self Produced CD category in the International Blues Challenge for 2017. Good luck, gentlemen, this is an excellent representation of what KC Blues is all about!