Plain Hard Truth | Bad Case Of Deja Vu

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Howlin' Wolf Son House The Stones

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United States - California

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Blues: Blues-Rock Blues: Dirty Blues Moods: Mood: Angry
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Bad Case Of Deja Vu

by Plain Hard Truth

An authentic Rock & Blues front porch sound of 'Howlin Wolf' & Son House is laid down by a bunch of white guys. It's a gritty, unrefined, and tribal beat which is an journey into the world of the metal un-electrified National Guitar sound. Roots Blues.
Genre: Blues: Blues-Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. I Don't Want No Woman
3:13 $0.99
2. Back Door
3:20 $0.99
3. Born Under a Bad Sign
3:13 $0.99
4. I'm Leaving You
2:42 $0.99
5. Bad Case of Deja Vu
4:42 $0.99
6. Blues Begins At Home
2:30 $0.99
7. I Love My Baby
2:01 $0.99
8. Please Please Please
3:21 $0.99
9. The Things I Used to Do
2:51 $0.99
10. Prisoner of Love
4:10 $0.99
11. Something's Got a Hold of Me
3:06 $0.99
12. Steal Away
2:31 $0.99
13. I Smell Trouble
1:59 $0.99
14. Born With a Broken Heart
2:20 $0.99
15. Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City
3:38 $0.99
16. Emmitt Lee
3:01 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Mississippi was a wild place when Little Richard pressed his early 45 rpm record of “Tutti Frutti”, and I was in line at the Yazoo City record store to buy it. I purchased Elvis’ “You Ain’t Nothing But A Hound Dog” too. I liked Little Richard better. It was grittier. “Hound Dog” was based on a recording by the female blues artist “Big Mama” Thornton. Reputed to have gotten $500 “out of the deal”, “Big Mama” was seen later passing a cup around an L.A. club for money. What a juxtaposition of her life verses that of the “King,” who like so many others made millions on the foundation laid by the early blues, the cornerstone of all popular music.
The “Golden Era” of the early great blues players was still strong in Mississippi. Blues musicians played on the front porches of the shacks along the highways. What a great contrast to Southern California where I grew up.
As an example, one summer I traveled by Greyhound bus from my home in Fullerton, California to Yazoo City to visit my mom’s family. The bus could hardly get though the streets surrounded by thousands of people waving signs and marching. “Don’t worry about it”, my aunt told me, “It’s just some guy coming down here stirring up trouble. The guy was Martin Luther King. When we went to the movies in town, I wanted to sit in the balcony, but that area was for blacks only, as was the theater’s drinking fountain for white’s only. It was pretty obvious why things were getting stirred-up. Beyond my isolated observations, things much, much worse were occurring. Yet the blues has survived extraordinary eras to remain an unbelievable unifying force among fans all over the world.
In certain ways California wasn’t really so far removed from Mississippi, because I was lucky enough to have a rather fanatical 78 rpm record collector friend, Rob Allingham, who lived only a couple blocks away from where I grew up. I loved the unrefined sounds which greatly influenced this production.
This is not a polished studio album. It was recorded live at two locations…McGee Creek* and Laguna Beach, in Dan’s converted garage studio. It is an honor to present it to you. We hope you enjoy it half as much as we did making this happen.

Notes about Plain Hard Truth Band members:

I met Bill Maresh and Dan Witte one night as they played guitars under a street lamp in a parking lot of Carl’s Jr., Fullerton, California. I never dreamed we’d play music together. Back then, Bill told me about another musically inclined friend he played with, who lived a block away. His name was Jackson Browne who was quoted as saying recently that “When I grew up, I thought all cities were like Fullerton…they aren’t.” Although I rather disliked school, one of my more positive memories was playing a high school assembly event where my early group shared the stage with Jackson.

Band member Jane Allingham, sister of Rob Allingham, my high school friend who had an amazing 78 rpm record collection, influenced both Jane and I tremendously. It seems only natural that she became a musician, like myself and the musical partner of Bill Maresh ever since.

Frank Cotinola, a remarkable drummer, happens to live three houses down from Dan where many of the live recordings were made in Laguna ‘Beach Shack Studios’. Remaining cuts were recorded live at the historic McGee Creek Lodge in the Eastern Sierras.

Without listing the numerous sessions and personalities that the band members have within their resumes, let this project speak for itself.

I don’t have much use for back-stage passes or after show parties. For us, it’s only about the music really. –Martin Roberts



to write a review

A. Grigg

The Plain Hard Truth Band is led by larger-than-life vocalist/guitarist Martin Roberts and he has assembled a veteran cast of old friends and collaborators, all hardcore musicians who’ve managed to transfer their love of old-time recordings into the domain of virtuoso musicians (although I’m sure they’d humbly decline the label of virtuosos!) As I’ve mentioned many times before, we get hundreds of CDs containing reworkings of classic Blues standards and/or ‘Hits’ and sadly 85-95% of these discs don’t get reviewed or even a second listen due to the stale nature of the Blues classics don’t even attempt to compete with the original version unless of course you happen to be someone like Eddie Kirkland, Leon Blue, The Carter Brothers or Dr. John. Instead, if you can redo a number so that it contains your own indelible style/sound and a heck of a lot of verve, then you may give the people something enjoyable and help your own profile. And, it’s obvious that Martin Roberts seems to know this already and employs the formula to perfection on this live album, plus they serve up a sound that has an identity of its own. Think part String Band but with a rhythm section and a mix of acoustic and electric instruments giving the proceedings a very ‘full’ sound and loads of spirit. For all those Blues fans who’re lamenting the lack of fresh Blues ideas, this will be a hugely rewarding CD. The musical members of Plain Hard Truth are Dan Witte (bass, guitar and organ), Bill Maresh (guitar, pedal steel, dobro and backup vocals), Jane Allingham (guitar, lead and backup vocals) and Frank Cotinola (drums) as well as the afore-mentioned Martin Roberts. One thing that you will experience whilst listening to this CD is the realization that this group of recordings gets better and better… with each passing second until you’re suddenly aware of the magnitude of the sheer excellence and the term refreshing is an understatement for sure, but Plain Hard Truth can now claim to own this description. Martin Roberts is also a totally unique and extroverted presence when it comes to vocals—no one could ever accuse Roberts of being laid back or introverted. His exuberance and complete investment will have you won over and smiling (and often laughing!). Too many of us go through life playing it safe and never really living) then there’s Martin Roberts who squeezes every ounce out of each verse like a man possessed (think Barrence Whitfield, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Wayne Cochrane). There are 16 tracks here, each of them pretty famous numbers, but you can forget all about the originals. Roberts starts with Bobby Bland’s “I Don’t Want No Woman” and gives it a dose of El Paso Redneck flavoring (the whole album could pass as a Texas good ‘ol boy creation but I mean that as a compliment!) despite the band’s Laguna Beach residency.

There are 16 tracks here, each of them pretty famous numbers, but you can forget all about the originals. Roberts starts with Bobby Bland’s “I Don’t Want No Woman” and gives it a dose of El Paso Redneck flavoring (the whole album could pass as a Texas good ‘ol boy creation but I mean that as a compliment!) despite the band’s Laguna Beach residency. “Back Door” starts off with several seconds of the original Chicago 78 by Washboard Sam before morphing into the modern String Band version. Roberts gets more and more exuberant as the song grabs his soul and he gets possessed and shoots out hilarious ad-libs. “Born Under A Bad Sign” will surprise many with its dirge-like identity that still grabs your feet and hips. Yes, you can dance up a storm to virtually every one of the 16 tracks. Wonderful dobro playing by Maresh, and Roberts again gets so into the song’s lyrics that he could become the Poster Boy for “White Men CAN Sing The Blues”. Wolf’s (Leaving You Baby) “Commit A Crime” is a friggin’ masterpiece and if I was the owner of one of the Top three Blues labels in North America, I’d rush out to sign Plain Hard Truth after hearing this tune. “Bad Case Of Déjà Vu”, Robert’s lone original composition, is a killer tune about the Evil Woman we’ve all run into (the one that turns your hair White and causes appendages to shrink to microscopic proportions!) and proof that Roberts can churn out his own 100% Pure Blues numbers. “Love My Baby” the old Tommy McClennan (John Lee Hooker’s favorite mentor) classic is given a stompin’ reworking and many will be stunned but happily so when they hear Guitar Slim’s “The Things I Used To Do” with a churchy organ to the forefront. Drummer Cotinola deserves praise for this old school marching band drumming on most of the tunes. “Prisoner Of Love” is an ethereal 4 minutes of Wonderland. Martin Roberts deserves to be on the same pedestal/musical plateau as Chuck E. Weiss, for his extraordinary creative juices. And, Chuck E. Weiss ain’t no slouch! “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” will baffle you at first, I was saying to myself “Hey, I know this song!” and then I realized it was a Hootenanny Gospel version of the old Etta James classic. What a transformation! And, that goes for virtually every track. The closing track, “Emmitt Lee”, the old Carol Fran Swamp Blues hit, is tackled by vocalist Jane Allingham with Martin singing backup and it’s just wonderful. What we have here folks is one of the finest collections of American Roots Music since Ernie Payne’s “Coercion Street” and one can easily envision Plain Hard Truth knocking audiences off their feet the World over. 5 Big Bottles of Hadacol for this mega-dose of Soul-Fixin’ Music. God knows we all need it right now.