James Leg - 'Blood On The Keys' (Alive Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Ben Hughes   
Tuesday, 31 January 2017 04:30

James Leg - Blood On The Keys artworkThe title of James Leg's third solo album is pretty apt I reckon. I've seen the former Black Diamond Heavies dude live and I can vouch that he bleeds and sweats for his craft like it was his last gig before descending from this Earth to the pits of Hell. His brand of high voltage, fuzzed-out garage rock is equal parts Tom Waits, Jim Jones Revue and Howlin' Wolf… are you interested yet?


'Blood On The Keys' came out a few months back, so we may be a bit late to the party, but Über Rock is still recovering from the Christmas cheer and this album is grand hangover music for anyone with a rock 'n' roll soul, so we couldn't resist singing its praises for the uninitiated.


Recorded in Dayton, Kentucky and produced by Jason Soda, 'Blood On The Keys' will delight fans of previous album 'Below The Belt' and Black Diamond Heavies in equal measure. It's business as usual, albeit with a few added extra instruments thrown about for good measure.


'Human Lawn Dart' kicks things off sounding live and in your face. Fuzzy, bass-heavy Fender Rhodes, those unmistakable gritty vocals and the simple beats of probably whatever drummer would turn up on the day with the promise of a few whiskeys and class As. 


Insanity reigns on 'Hugging The Line', Leg's frantic, fuzzy riffs render it pretty indescribable to be honest, as Leg's sound is as genre defying as usual. What I can say is, it fuckin' well kicks all kinds of ass!



Leg takes things down in his own way on the soulful 'I'll Take It', like some alternative Randy Newman goodness, with a sweet, bluesy guitar solo to boot. The title track is a fiery blues ballad, delivered as only this man can, a sweet tinkling of the ivories and a raw vocal delivery full of soul and power...perfection.


Things take a slight left of centre turn in a good way on 'St. Michel Shuffle' where the addition of strings to Leg's blues give a more Parisian feel. And then there's album closer, 'Should've Been Home With You', that incorporates crazed fiddle to shuffle beats and adds a rustic, gypsy charm to the bourbon drenched rock 'n' roll. A raucous drinking song, guaranteed to whet the whistle of the soberest man at the party. 


Psychedelic soul jams such as 'Dogjaw (Do Some Things You Say) always hit the spot, it sees Leg rip on his Fender Rhodes like a man possessed, that primal howl the perfect accompaniment. And even the bar-room boogie of Mungo Jerry's 'Mighty Man' is turned upside down and given an injection of James Leg devil juice, what a treat!


The son of a Texan preacher, it seems that the man formally known as John Wesley Myers was destined to travel the world playing rock 'n' roll music. 'Blood On The Keys' is the sound of a man who has honed his skills through years on the road and has a tale or two to tell. James Leg has taken his Gospel upbringing and mixed it with the best garage rock has to offer, and he will take you to church in the only way he knows how, with passion and honesty, straight from the soul.


‘Blood On The Keys’ is out now and can be bought HERE.