Fat Danny & Hard Tymz
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Fat Danny & Hard Tymz


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The best kept secret in music


"Hard Tymz - Power of the Blues CD"

The title says it all. It's definitely a four star CD led Fat Danny Bennett. He and the band take you on an unparalleled blues adventure. It's blues as it ought to be with every song telling a story. Bennett's musical prowess reminds one of Jimmy Reed. He does it all write, sing and play various instruments. This is Bennett's blues and no one else's. "Another Day" track two is blues in its truest sense. It tells a story of a man falling apart. Even with the creature comforts (money in the bank) one can still feel unfulfilled. Doyle "Dr." Smith's keyboards pull you in. He's true to the old-fashioned, down in the swamp blues sound of the masters. Song has that rocking, loping Reed-like gait. It is a song about a man depressed. "Happiness is just a memory." Anyone who's been depressed can relate. You know those days when they all blend together and nothing makes any stand out. We've all had them. Some get over it quickly while others are led to the "nut house." The rich organ sound of Smith shows his deep Mississippi roots. His chitlin' circuit playing has really paid off.

"$7 boogie" is funny while telling about a man with only seven dollars in his pocket. "Seven dollars ain't going to feed us very long," is the lament of his wife. But he's "a blues man" and nothing will change that. Always was and always will be. It's a song of conviction. Bennett takes you on a vivid trip with his lyrics and great licks. Just when things seem to be lost he gets a gig and now he's a "fifty-seven dollar man." This song teases yet there's a real message in it. With only seven dollars "even my dog is getting worried."

The title track dispels the myth one has to live in the South; or be black to understand the blues. Bennett lets all in on a secret: blues is a feeling that life creates. "It don't matter where you come from or who you are. When the blues gets a hold of you, you can't go very far." Blues is about what happens to you. And it will come no matter your station in life. Though born in California his roots are deep south and it shows in this song. Arkansas was the homeland of his parents and going to California they took their "country ways with them." Powerful song.

"Pissin' in the Wind" is the story of a man without a job and of course no friends. It's a 2001 version of "God Bless the Child That's Got His Own." He takes you on a long walk where you remember the lessons our parents tried to teach. "Ain't got no job. Can't find no friends," is always the case. Bennett strokes you on this one. You feel the pain and know it's true. It's a funny yet powerful and instructive song.

This is a dynamic, electric collection. It is destined to be a future blues classic. One will look back on this like and Elmore James or Jimmy Reed collection and say wow he really understood the blues. With Fat Danny Bennett on vocals, guitar and harp you get a throwback to the days Jimmy Reed. The music is his in all ways since he writes the lyrics and music to make his songs work. When you add to the mix Smith's keyboards; Big Mike Rincon's bass and Mike Burnes smooth yet intense drums you get a blues mix worthy of hours of listening. If their power comes through on this CD imagine them live. Though I originally said I'd give this CD a four star rating I now revise that assessment. It's really too, too good to rate. Listen and be overwhelmed by "The Power of the Blues."

This review is copyright © 2001 by Lujira Cooper, and Blues On Stage at: http://www.mnblues.com/, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.

- Lujira Cooper - Blues on Stage

"Life Behind the 8 Ball CD review"

Fat Danny Bennett plays rhythm’n’blues on his acoustic, electric, and slide guitar. In the West Coast Blues scene, this is a very popular music. Besides being influenced by traditional Blues forms and West Coast artists like Johnny Guitar Watson, Danny shows a little Southern Allman Brothers influence in Little Rock.

Fat Danny has shared the stage with many great people from the blues world and has made 2 previous CD’s (Thinking About You & Power of the Blues). He tours with his legendary Hard Tymz throughout the club and festival circuit in USA. Fat Danny started Hard Tymz in the 70’s. We’re not just talking about a little Blues Band here but we are talking about Blues Orchestra. Besides Fat Danny on lead vocals and guitar, the band consists of Mike Burnes (drums), Doyle Smith (Hammond organ), Eric Brown (harp), and Greg Greenfield (bass and background vocals). On this particular album the band counted on two special guest artists: Jacquie Sullivan vocal arrangements and background vocals, and Eddie Theriault spoons.

Fat Danny shows what kind of qualities he’s got and at what level he works in these ten tracks. This album sounds very professional and will certainly be well received by people that appreciate good production values. These recordings took place in the Canoga Park California. Singing and lyrics are very good. While Pocketful of Blues is impressive, Insurance Song has a slow country feeling of a Jimmy Reed classic. On Payin’ for My Sins, Eric Brown showed his true colors on the harmonica and left behind a feeling of classic Duke-Peacock recordings of the late 50’s. Of the title track, Life Behind the 8 Ball, Fat Danny says the following: "I Grew up in a tough neighborhood in Northeast Los Angeles called Frogtown. My folks came from Little Rock Arkansas. Daddy got drunk on the weekends. I learned the Blues the hard way. Listen closely as I tell about my life behind the 8 ball.
The 2nd to last track, Can I Count on Your Love, is a red-hot shuffle from the 20’s & 30’s.

This group of musicians has succeeded in making a music with their own face. Not blues-rock like so many other people, but in this style, it is definitely a solid product we can recommend. In short, for people that appreciate west coast blues CD with many different sounds, Fat Danny and Hard Tymz are definitely worth seeing and hearing.

- RootsTime

"Life Behind the 8 Ball CD"

"All About Jazz"

By Jim Santella

Fat Danny Bennett calls the blues "a living, breathing form of music that's relevant to today." It's everywhere we look. He proves his point with a program of ten originals that set us to wondering about the things we live with every day. Hard Tymz was started in 1975. That's a lot of years to reflect upon the aspects of our daily lives that occupy our minds full-time. Bennett sings,

My hair is thin and gray.
Got a few less teeth in my head.
My knees don't work so good.
Nose is gettin' a little cherry red.

Lord, I'm payin' for my sins,
But all along I tried to taste it all.

His songs are a celebration of the lives that we all lead every day. The songs have a country feel that keeps each lyric's message firmly rooted at center stage. Blues harp, Hammond organ, bass, drums and backup singers make strong partners for Bennett's vocals and fiery guitar. Their cohesive interplay makes his country blues shine brightly with inspiration and empathy. Another lyric goes like this:

If things don't get better soon,
I think I'd rather be walkin' with the Lord.

"Life Behind the 8 Ball" paints a picture of the way we feel sometimes. Things don't always go right, and we often complain for days about it. It's always reassuring to know that others feel the same way. "Sugar Sandwich" begins with a searing electric guitar tantrum and proceeds to stroll with a loping meter that grabs at your heartbeat. The song's hard times message paints a bleak picture, but Bennett's Hard Tymz Blues Band provides vivid colors that linger. They drive this message, and all the others, directly home and provide solace in knowing that life goes on despite unexpected obstacles.

Reprinted with permission copyright 2005
www.AllAboutJazz.com & Jim Santella - All About Jazz - Jim Santella


Thinking About You (out-of-print)
Power of the Blues (available at www.CDbaby.com/hardtymz)
Life Behind the 8 Ball (available at www.CDbaby.com/hardtymz)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Fat Danny Bennett - vocals, lead guitar, slide guitar
High Desert Bluesman, Fat Danny Bennett, is the heart and soul of the Hard Tymz. He writes and sings all of the original material. Danny's songs come directly from his life. The good, the bad, the ups and the downs. Danny says, "Sing the Blues? Hell, I'm living the Blues." A multi-talented instrumentalist, Danny counts Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Link Wray, and all the "Kings" among his influences.

Mike Burnes - drums and percussion
The quiet man of the group, Mike Burnes, lets his sticks do the talking as he lays down a take-no-prisoners drum beat. Influences include Mitch Mitchell, Ginger Baker, and his former teacher, Tootie Heath. Mike brings an uptown jazzy feel to the down-home blues of The Hard Tymz.

Doyle Smith - Hammond organ & Wurlitzer electric piano
Born about 20 miles from where Robert Johnson played his last gig, Doyle hails from Leflore County Mississippi. He honed his blues chops playing on the Barbeque joints and Elks Clubs on the chitlin' circuit throughout the Deep South. Influences include Billy Preston, Marvell Thomas, Carson Whitsett, and Booker T.

Eric Brown - harp
Eric Brown is the Hard Tymz's harpmeister. Eric was schooled in the Blues in the musically fertile Greenwich Village. Such giants as Paul Butterfield, Charlie Musselwhite, Big and Little Walter as well as Sonny Terry and Sonny Boy Williamson have heavily influenced our “Boy from New York City” for the past 35 years. Eric has played in a number of bands ranging from blues to classic rock to folk music. His amplified "Mississippi saxophone" adds a down and dirty sound to the Hard Tymz.

Rick Horn – electric bass
Rick Horn was recommended to the Hard Tymz by the legendary Blues bassist, “Papa Dog.” Rick is influenced by impeccable bass players like Duck Dunn and Jamerson. It's all about the groove and pocket. No slappin' or pluckin' here. To paraphrase the Gallo Brothers, Rick will play no note before its time. We call Rick “the man with the biggest bottom in Blues" and we aren’t just talkin’ booty here.