♫ John Mooney, All I Want
🍺 Welde / Himburgs Braukunstkeller Pepper Pils
Words & photos: Vincent Abbate
All I want is …
Nah. Let’s not go there. The list is long and kind of depressing. Let’s talk about John Mooney instead.
John Mooney is a guy who projects both power and sensitivity, both darkness and light. In his playing and singing, you can hear how he went to school on one of the all-time greats, Son House, the former Baptist preacher and blues pioneer who was forever torn between the sacred and the secular. Mooney played alongside House as a teenager in upstate New York after Joe Beard introduced them in 1971. He possesses an uncanny feel for the sort of Delta blues House performed during his lifetime and has come up with a signature guitar tone that soars like a bird on the wing.
But he carried it a step further. He moved to New Orleans as a young man, hooked up with influential musicians like Professor Longhair and Snooks Eaglin and made that city’s famed second line rhythm his own. Mooney makes magic with those two basic ingredients, the Delta and the second line.
I love just about everything’s he done but have a special place in my heart for All I Want. The album’s energy is electric and Mooney’s playing is off the charts.
All I Want was his most current disc when I interviewed John before a club show in Bavaria in 2003. I think I was drinking Pyraser Landbier in half-liter mugs that night. Mmm. Today’s Listening Party pick has little in common with that Bavarian Helles, but it is German: Pepper Pils, which I chose for the simplest of reasons. I’m intrigued by what adding pepper does to beer.
Let’s crack open the bottle and let the music play.