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Anyone with the tongue-in-cheek termerity to select Blind Lemon Pledge as a stage name in the blues, melding together the memory of one of the art form's first-generations superstars with that of a common furniture polish, better be able to delivere when he gets behind the microphone. Fortunately, that's the case for mulit-instrumentalist and songwriter James Byfield, who delivers this interesting, original take on roots music from his home base in San Francisco...Pledge's musical journey takes you from the bottom of the blues to the top and back again. His touch is light and sweet, and the ride is a gentle departure from most of the albums you'll listen to today. Different and enjoyable.
Blues Blast Magazine

Starting with the artist's name, some of what you'll read here is going to be satirical. So much, in fact, that you should find yourself smiling - if not actually bursting out a loud laugh. With that said, the satire stops once the music starts. These are ten very real, very well written and very well performed songs..."Evangeline" is the fourth album by critically acclaimed singer/composer/producer/arranger, multi-instrumentalist and often bizarre yet sometimes genius, Blind Lemon Pledge. It features all original music that includes jump jive, deep blues, New Orleans beats, salsa heat, heart tugging ballads and chain gang chants. As Blind Lemon says, "Prepare to take a music journey through the soul of America".. Impressive, to say the least.
Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro

...Cool and quirky...Opening with the work farm track Buley's Farm, I really this this track is cool and like nothing I have heard recently (except of a Taj Mahal release, Mulebone I think). Featuring solo vocal lad by BLP and backed by the Mississippi State Prison Farm Jubilee Singer, and just a stripped down acoustic slide part, this track is about as Spartan as the get. Very cool! Next up is Jennie Bell, an acoustic ballad in the flavor of early Bob Dylan. Brimstone Joe is a cleverly constructed ballad with a really nice melody. Breaking the basis of the track and expanding into a ragtime track with Hugh Jorgan on keys and Isaac Izzy Cumming on drums, Midnight Assignation is really a stripped down rocker like a New York poet. With some simple but fluid slide riffs, this track is a nice contrast to the balance of the release. Go Jump the Willie is a cool rockabilly track with light jazzy guitar lead behind the vocal harmonies. On The Language of Love, BLP takes a Latin turn. Alvin "Albee" Bakatcha rides tight on percussion. Alex Blaine-Laydor, Laralyn Hady, Willie B Hardigan and Don Menchinet, Anita Moorehead and Bess T. Wishes add harmony vocals (yeah, look at the names a couple of times...you'll get it!) Ham and Eggs is an easy going pop track that could have been constructed in the early part of the 20th century. Blind Lemon is having fun and, if you let yourself go, you will too. How Can I Still Love You has an easy, jazzy blues feel with Gene Poole on bass and Cummings on drums. A second simple pop track, You Had Me at Goodbye, has a nice melody and a solid hook. Title track, Evangeline, is a simple blues with sling cigar box accompaniment. One of the most pleasing tracks on the release and a nice closer.
Bman's Blues Report

Blind Lemon Pledge has delivered a fantastic album that any self-respecting music lover should have! "Evangelline" is the name of this gem and the creator of all the many musical treasures call it "A Musical Journey Through the Heart of Americana and Blues", which really hits the nail on the head...this can be considered a brilliant masterpiece. Although we do not typically highlight each song in a review, here we do otherwise...if only for the huge diversity that you can find on this album...It is hard to believe that all ten of the songs that adorn this album are composed by one and the same man...A great singer, an excellent guitarist and a particularly strong songwriter...This is a stunner.
Luc Meert /www.rootstime.be

****
I do like some diversity, you know that as a regular reader of these pages by now. And it will be no surprise after reading this piece that I find "Evangeline", the new Blind Lemon Pledge album, a downright delicious plate. What James Byfield, the real name of our man in the spotlight, has pulled together on his fourth album is a variety of music that defies imagination. "A musical journey through the heart of Americana and Blues", he call it, and that it truly is. A melting pot of tastes and flavors. And it's damn good, that's for sure...In all honesty, I know collectors who are much less varied that nhis batch of songs! It is really unbelievable that this song collection came from a single composer. All credits go to James Byfield himself, by his penetrating way of singin and his great handling of all the trheads between different styles that he demonstrates. A really great job you've done here Mr. Byfield.
Ctrl. Alt. Country e-zine

...surprisingly gritty, folky, bluesy and dirt-wallow authentic returning the blues back to their earliest days and antecedents...James Byfield, warbler and git-fiddlist, is Blind Lemon Pledge, and it becomes a bit surprising that he wrote everything here, traveling with headlong speed from the 2000s, back to the 1920s, through the 60s with gusto, vigor and a cool-ass backing band bedded down in Louisiana delta swamp, Georgia cotton fields and New York ghettos... This is a CD is cannot winnow a favorite track from, deeply satisfying from beginning to end, though when I say ‘satisfying', I mean whiskey bottle, hot ‘n' humid, dog-grinning, half naked satisfying'.
Mark S. Tucker / Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange

"Evangeline" is an entertaining foray through the blues and various Americana styles, all from the fertile imagination of Blind Lemon Pledge. While he may have a funny name, his music is definitely serious.
Graham Clarke / Blues Bytes

The world of blues music is littered with exotic-named artists. Blind Lemon Pledge is no different...So for someone with a name like Pledge, he'd better be ploshid. There's no fears with this collection of pure Americana – it's a feast for blues lovers with so many genres covered – and covered so well...Throughout the playing is tight and accomplished.
John Krighton / Fatea

This is an amazing sound produced by a gifted artist.
Music Arts Monthly

(Pledge) remains true to the roots of the music...A much more than educational musical journey of an inspired craftsman.
Keys and Chords

An album that won't fail to take you by surprise – Evangeline is full of twists and turns in its musical content: ranging from rock, jive, salsa to honky tonk, jazz and so on. But in spite of this, each track is able to stand on its own and shine in its own way. Evangeline is a well thought out and beautifully produced album that still remains authentic and true to its roots.
Musicperk

Songwriter, guitarist, producer, etc. Blind Lemon Pledge delves deep into the American roots soil and makes it grand with chorus and diverse backing group. Thus, a superb mix of folk music, blues rock and New Orleans beats.
Onsdag

Musician James Byfield released a strong and much recommended album that takes you on a journey through the American fields and down the Mississippi river, combining elements of Folk, Americana and Jazzy blues, so typical American as if you're in New Orleans. It has that deep southern fried US sound that only Americans are able to create.
Strutter

A beautiful album for lovers of acoustic blues.
Wasser-Prawda

 

 

 

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