Catfish Keith – Blues at Midnight

Album Review | Fish Tail Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson

A good catchy moniker has always served some of our blues men (and women) well, whether the name derives from a physical disability (Blind Boy Fuller, Peg Leg Howell), a town or city from whence they came (Memphis Minnie, Mississippi Fred McDowell), a description of their actual physique (Arthur Big Boy Crudup, Slim Harpo),  or in one notable case, an entire Indian mausoleum (Taj Mahal). In the case of this particular blues man from Indiana, it appears to be a preferred delicacy.  Catfish Keith has been around the block a few times and has laboured his acoustic Country Blues around the world, releasing no fewer than nineteen album along the way. His trademark gruff vocal and assured finger picked guitar playing style are both prominent throughout Blues at Midnight, with little assistance from anyone else, other than a little violin on “Move to Louisiana” courtesy of Randy Sablen and a fine harmonica solo on “Oh, Mr Catfish”, delivered by Peter Mudcat Ruth. Eliciting the assistance of no fewer than thirteen different guitars on these recordings, ranging from a 1927 Gibson Nick Lucas Special to a more recent 2018 National Reso-Phonic Exploding Palm Baritone Tricone, which I’m in no doubt shines like, well the Mississippi Delta I suppose, the songs offer certain sonic differences.  Catfish Keith’s long career has been captured here in just thirteen songs, written throughout those forty years and still sounding relevant and punchy today. Blues at Midnight should serve established fans and new listeners alike, until such a time we are able to see him tour again.