Too Damn Cold
Along the path of life, it is rare to know with any certainty where the journey started or where it's going. But for many, there is an identifiable point where the words 'commitment' or 'fanatic' or 'hooked' are no longer just words. For me, the blues train stopped to collect my 'life ticket' one night in the fall of 1973 when I first saw Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers as part of the Midwest Blues Festival at the University of Notre Dame. For guitarist Will 'The Weatherman' Scott and drummer J.J. Perry of Bloomington's blues band The Forecasters, their blues train stopped in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Right on top of Highway 4, a ribbon of tar through Marshall County in the north hills of Mississippi, sits the country juke joint of legendary but little-known blues guitarist Junior Kimbrough. What started 'merely' as a trip to get a feel for deep Mississippi blues became the change in direction for long-time friends Perry and Scott. It was at Junior's place one sweltering spring afternoon that Perry sat in with Junior's band on the juke joint's tiny stage. Too Damn Cold is The Forecasters' first effort to document the forays to Mississippi, the basement college parties and the late nights in blues clubs around the Midwest. Along with rhythm guitarist Jim Richter ('the ace up our sleeve,' as Perry calls him) and some special guests, The Forecasters begin their journey of sweating out their West Side Chicago-influenced blues strain. Not merely content to be another blues jam band, Perry said, 'Will and I had the major goal of finding a sound we were comfortable with and working a bunch of different kinds of tunes within that style.' Too Damn Cold opens with the original 'Cold Comfort' evoking Magic Sam and that 'funky urban school of blues,' according to The Weatherman, a Windy City native. Add saxman Norbert Herber to the mix on the Ray Charles-penned but Son Seals-interpreted 'I Believe To My Soul' and you get that visceral urge to move, to shuffle, to let go because you just can't help it. And then to bring it right back to the heart of the blues, take in 'Cold In Chicago,' a Forecasters song of 100 proof Mississippi Delta, languid and shimmering. For this blues fan, Too Damn Cold is fundamental music for real people who live hard, drink hard and dance hard. For Will, J.J. and The Forecasters, Too Damn Cold is their first station on the blues train main line ... All Aboard! -- Bob Kissel, host, 'Blue Monday,' WFHB 91.3/98.1 FM Bloomington, IN.