Catfish Hodge – High Roller

“…that woman made a man of me”

Catfish is a Washington DC based singer/songwriter/guitarist who has been on the music scene for decades.  I had the pleasure of catching one of his acoustic performances in the late 90s where he showcased tunes from his album ‘Bare Necessities’ and was blown away from the start.   His voice echoed in the air with an almost ethereal wail while his guitar drowned in whiskey and reverb.  In such a small hall I couldn’t believe I had stumbled onto an artist of such magnitude.  I only went to the local show with the knowledge that it was a blues concert and I was scouting venues to talk about on my radio show.   That venue in question never yielded these results again.  I walked out with a copy of his latest album and the track ‘High Roller’ has been a staple of my collection since. 

“She’s just a high roller, rollin’ on down the line…”

This song is also a good example of quality songwriting in a modern blues context.  So many blues albums released in the last 25 years fall into a syndrome of repetition.  Just like in other music genres, the generic formula becomes the rule after the golden age of innovation is over.  This has certainly happened in the blues…I remember seeing a blues group at a festival in the 90s and every song was identical.  The last tune was called ‘Blues Police’ and sounded just like the 5 that came before…just another “Mannish Boy” rip off.  So, those in the know who hear this generic rattle today just say…”Call the Blues Police!”.

We don’t have to call the Blues Police on Catfish thankfully.  His songs are interesting, multi layered and musically complex.  I did some research and found some ‘Catfish Hodge’ albums from the 1970s and 1980s.  They were good, but didn’t move me the way “High Roller” did.  It reminds me of being young, being wild and being free.  In a place you didn’t quite figure out yet.  A place many of wish we were right now.  I’m glad someone documented that feeling…of feeling like a high roller, rollin’ and tumblin’ and movin’ down the line.

 http://catfishpond.com/catfish/

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