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CD REVIEW -- Biscuit Miller & The Mix
WGLT Highway 309

Biscuit Miller and the Mix

Chicken Grease

American Showplace Music

Biscuit & The Mix Chicken Grease CD cover

By Robin Zimmerman

When Biscuit Miller released Wishbone in 2017, there was a sweet story behind the CD’s title. Seemed that Mr. Miller’s two grandsons were making their wishes known on Thanksgiving. When hearing this, the inspired patriarch started cutting a song about it right on the spot.

          Fast forward to 2019, and there’s another story behind the new release, Chicken Grease. It involves a Florida golf course, NFL Hall-of-Famer Lawrence Taylor and drummer Myron “Dr. Love” Robinson’s hitting the links with “ashy” feet. Taylor saw this and advised the good doctor to apply a liberal helping of chicken grease to hydrate his dry skin.

And so, a song was born, along with a standout CD of the same name. This new release finds Miller, the two-time Blues Music Award winner, in fine form with his singing and songwriting skills. When you throw in the mix of musical craftsmanship from his mates, you have all the makings of a well-blended concoction that dishes out some delicious musical morsels.  

Miller’s been singled out for his infectious smile and it’s obvious that this cat just likes to have a good time. But behind that gleaming grin is a versatile voice that goes from soulful seducer to full throttled howler all in the span of one CD.

His bass-playing ain’t too shabby either. Miller’s performed with a wide range of big names including ten years with Lonnie Brooks. He started his own band in 2000 to fill some down time and he’s been at it ever since!

Besides this congenial front man, Biscuit’s band features a group of musicians who can rise to any musical challenge. The band consists of Myron “Dr. Love” Robinson, a lifelong drummer who has shared the stage with the likes of Koko Taylor, Phil Guy and others. Columbia College product Alex “Southside” Smith and veteran Bobby B Watson add a generous dash of great guitar licks to the Miller’s Mix.

Another “key” to a CD of such musical diversity is to bring out the big guns on Hammond organ, vintage vibe, electric piano and percussion. On Chicken Grease John Ginty handles all these responsibilities. This hands-on artist is also credited as the CD’s co-producer.

With the introductions underway, it’s time to segue to the main entrée of Chicken Grease. It turns out that Dr. Love’s prognosis of “enjoyable fun” and a “mixture of a lot of different styles of music” is right on the money.

Chicken Grease is the group’s 4th CD but it’s the first time that they’ve had a producer in the (ahem) mix. They got themselves a good one, too. Besides the multi-faceted Ginty, they brought on Ben Elliott. He’s known for his dexterity with diverse genres and work with some chaps named Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. But, Elliott’s specialty is the blues and he brings out the Biscuit’s best and bluesiest along with a hefty helping of highly-listenable sounds.

On the opening track “Here Kitty Kitty” the subject is a seductive stripper but the sound is anything but stripped down. When Miller opens with the “ooh look at my kitty cat,” you know you’re in for a romp that includes musical cat calls from the group along with a great sixties R & B groove throughout.

After trying to cajole Kitty off the pole, they slide right into “609.”  Miller’s growly delivery about missing his baby features special guest, Marcus Randolph. His fine lap steel guitar work weaving between Myron Robinson’s steady beat make “609” another musical treat.

“Lonely Road” showcases Miller’s vocal versatility as he croons a sad lament about lost loves and so-called friends dissing him. But, Smith and Watson are right behind him as they contribute some great guitar work.

“Two-Legged Dog” opens with a howl that leads into solid soulful groove sprinkled in with some heavily laden innuendos that lead into the low-down, funky title track. “Chicken Grease” is oozing with Randolph’s real deal lap steel and well-cooked hooks that help Miller extol the virtues and how “dippity do” chicken grease can work for you. 

On “Watching You,” Miller segues into a modern-day Barry White/Lou Rawls mode that also features some bewitching background vocals from the group. Following this 5:36 vocal seduction, the CD shifts gears and breaks out a guitar-heavy Foghat style vibe on “Take a Ride.” This song also features some fine harmonizing that glamorizes the lure of GTO muscle cars. 

The CD takes a turn south on the next track as the group extolls the virtues of a “Southern Woman” before they do a well-steeped slow jam called “Creeping.”  They close out on a hopeful note with “Get Ready” and the need for us to all just get along.

After listening to Chicken Grease for the last few weeks, it’s clear that these guys are having a good time and it piqued interest in seeing them live. Luckily, they’re booked at Buddy Guy’s this coming Saturday night---November 16th.  Looking forward to seeing how Biscuit Miller and the Mix rise to the occasion at this legendary venue.

 For info or to buy the music: http://www.biscuitmiller.com/index.html

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