Stan "The Man" Hedges - Two Mule Parade 2006
This is the first time that I’ve heard of Stan “The Man” Hedges, and I’m guessing that Two Mule Parade is maybe his first CD. Having listened to the CD a few times now, I’m really hoping that this isn’t a one-off and that there is a follow-up in the pipeline.
This Tennessee bluesman writes some good stuff, 11 of the 12 tracks on the album are written by him – the exception being a great version of “Wade in The Water.” He has an earthy, gritty, voice, very reminiscent of Dr..John, that fits his music perfectly, and the female backing vocals complement his voice beautifully – supplied by Miranda Louise, Summer Boyd,Melissa Wickline, Jane Hedges and Toni Wood-Meyer.
The music is a mix of New Orleans blues and some shuffles, the tempos passing back and forth through the album, and tracks 1,2,3,6 and 8 have guest harmonica supplied by “Chicago” Charlie Fink – for me, these are amongst the best tracks on the CD, especially track 8, “Butter Yo Biscuits.”
The CD opens with “Angola Cowboy,” a tale about a recently released convict trying to adjust to life on the outside – Shannon Wickline playing some barrelhouse piano to push things along. The music slides into “I Can Hear the Delta” - slides being the operative word as the track features some rich slide guitar work from Stan Hedges. Great lyrics, well-written, with tinkling piano work behind the slide guitar – excellent!
“Won’t Stand The Light Of Day,” a track about the slave trade and its effects on the generations since, has poignant lyrics written from the point of view of a white Southern man who suffers guilt about what went on all those years ago. Compulsive listening!
This is a CD that should have a place in any good blues collection, and I can’t wait for the next Hedges project!
By Terry Clear. (Mr.Fat Ass)
"Two Mule Parade" is longtime Tennessee Blues Guitar-Slinger Stan "The Man" Hedges' first solo project. For Hedges now 50 it's been a long time coming, but from what people are exclaiming after hearing this 12 song project; (11 originals, most written in the last two years) it's well worth the wait! Hedges primarily known as a guitarist has drawn accolades a-plenty over the years; like from late blues legend Robert Jr. Lockwood calling Stan "A great guitar player with a lot of soul", "Music City Blues" writing that Stan "Makes the hair on your neck standup, ! A local treasure,! possibly Nashville's most underrated guitarist", and has lent his guitar to producers Cowboy Jack Clement, Dan Penn, Joe Scafe and others. Now "The Man" will surely be known as a gifted singer-songwriter with an enamoring style that's rousingly all his own!! This project in its entirety is a gem with its own earthy, provocative feel, mixing New Orleans grooves and Kansas City shuffles with "Fat Back" rockers, gritty storytelling and stunning guitar work. From the eerily nostalgic swamp-jazz narrative of the title track, to the story of a misunderstood ex-con who probably won't last much longer on the out-side (Angola Cowboy). "I Can Hear the Delta" is a picturesque longing for a rich musical culture that is slowly dying. While "Garden of Pain-Requiem for Billy Collins Jr." tells the heart-wrenching true story of Nashville Golden Boy boxing contender Billy Collins Jr's maiming in the ring of Madison Square Garden by a dishonest opponent's manager in 1983. "Waiting for the sky to Fall" is a John Lee Hooker type of blues with lyrics that stick; "Sometimes late at night, I hear you call my name, but it's just the wind outside, bringin' in the rain". "Reach the Light- Tribute to Rosetta Tharpe" is an up-lifting hand clapping vamp you don't want to end. "Won't stand the Light of Day" is a scalding attack on racism past and present. Hedges shows his sense of humor with "Snappin' Turtle Blues" and "Butter Yo' Biscuits". The instrumental "Kentucky Skin Tag Salad" being a grooving "Organ Trio Type" Head-Cutting contest should be required travel music. This CD should satisfy a lot of people searching for something different but also something satisfying and real. Listen to what the press is already saying; "!.
Shannon Wickline- Keyboards & Drums
Charlie Fink- Harmonica
Miranda Louise- Background Vocals
Summer Boyd- Lead Vocals, track 7 and Background Vocals, tracks 5&7
Melissa Wickline- Background Vocal track 9
David Dansby- Lead Vocals track 7
Jane Hedges Background Vocals track 7
Toni Wood-Meyer- Background Vocals track 7
Stan "The Man" Hedges- Guitar, Vocals
01. Angola Cowboy 4:50
02. I Can Hear The Delta 3:22
03. Won't Stand the Light of Day 5:44
04. Two-Mule Parade 4:14
05. Reach The Light 5:00
06. Waiting For The Sky To Fall 4:53
07. Wade In The Water 4:03
08. Butter To' Biscuits 4:56
09. Garden Of Pain (Reqiuem for Billy Collins Jr.) 5:42
10. Snappin' Turtle Blues 3:24
11. Hammer Down 3:16
12. Kentucky Skin Tag Salad 4:49