- The Way Things Go
- Cleveland Fats
- Honeybee Entertainment
Mark Hahn hails from northern Ohio, and fell in love with the blues after seeing B.B. King on a TV show when Hahn was 11 years old. By the time he was 14, he was guitarist in a local blues band. In the early 1970s the second major influence entered his life when Robert Lockwood Jr. moved to Cleveland. Hahn went to Lockwood’s shows repeatedly; Lockwood noticed him, let him sit in with the band, taught him some licks…and hired him! For the next 17 years Hahn remained a strong component of the group, until forming his own band in 1992 as Cleveland Fats.
“The Way Things Go” in Fats’s 4th. album, and it percolates! Fats is joined by a stellar supporting cast, headed by Lockwood himself on 4 of the 12 cuts. The interplay between the two confirms their rapport after years of playing together. Exemplary harmonica stylist Billy Branch also appears on 4 cuts; the rhythm section is steady; and the two pianists who share album duties are impeccably swinging and tasteful.
This is an album of straight-ahead blues: no reggae, no country, no frills, no pretense, just rock-solid mid-tempo electric blues. Three of the songs are covers, including one each by Lockwood and Little Walter; the rest are originals by Fats. Fats plays juicy lead guitar with a rich tone, and has a strong and evocative voice. There is not a weak song on the album, but “Dead or Alive,” featuring both Branch and Lockwood, really shines.
Lockwood, who died in October 2006 at age 91, left great albums of his own, as well as many on which he played sideman to other stars of the blues. This album is a fitting memorial to him, as well as a showcase for the impressive talent of one of his disciples.