I just disappeared into a sweet and fully rocking memory for 45 minutes, and I'm still bopping. I recently discovered that Jerome Godboo, former frontman for 1980s Canadian blues/rock band The Phantoms has put much of his back catalog online as free MP3 downloads (and as commercial CDs that he'll ship to your front door). The album I disappeared into was Alive at the Diamond, the first album released by The Phantoms, pieced together from live shows at the Diamond club in Toronto. I've seen the Phantoms play live many times, and they never failed to get me out of my seat and lost in the music; I wore out three copies of the Alive at the Diamond cassette in various Walkmans, and when my last copy disintegrated, I thought the music was gone forever.
So I've spent the past 45 minutes with the biggest goddamned grin on my face, bopping so hard in my seat that I could barely type, getting reacquainted with one of my favorite albums of all time. The Phantoms played hard-driving modern blues with an emphasis on Godboo's insane, James-Cotton-grade harmonica virtuosity. The lyrics were good — though never outstanding — but the arrangements and performances and the vocals were so goddamned rocking that they made the Phantoms into a band I could never forget.
Start with the opening track, Everything is Changing, then move onto the instrumental boogie-woogie baddassery of The Skull (I defy you to stay seated for this track), and then check out their one-of-a-kind cover of Ain't Too Proud to Beg.
Then support Jerome by buying the album.
Godboo has a new album out with CDBaby called Humdinger. As soon as I can stop playing Alive at the Diamond on constant loop, I plan on giving it a listen. Try and stop me!