This is the first time this album has ever been available on CD. The James Montgomery Blues Band was popular in the early seventies and they were often associated with other more popular groups like J. Geils Band and Aerosmith. Montgomery’s band was originally signed to the Capricorn label and then Island. But by the time Duck Fever was recorded, he had switched to the independent Warehouse label. Most likely because the band never scored that elusive hit single…or because they were switching from one label to another…James and his band never became hugely popular like some of their contemporaries. But the music has continued to thrive and survive, thanks to the internet making it accessible for everyone.
Originally released on vinyl in 1978, the tracks on Duck Fever have held up well. These bluesy rhythm-driven pop tracks have an overall funky feel and vibe that may remind listeners of mid-era Kinks (think Muswell Hillbillies or Everybody’s In Show Biz). Produced by Don Oriolo and engineered by Ed Stasium, these tracks feature the talents of a whole host of talented musicians (listed inside the handy reference booklet). Catchy upbeat cuts include “Working On a Love Affair,” “Crazy About My Baby,” “New England Sunshine,” and “Living For the Weekend.”
babysue (November 2018)
…He’s catching one’s ears with the slider-polished “Big C Blues” and an exquisite acoustic romp through “Watkin’s Rag” – both done in a solo mode – but the sexed-up reggae which “Andy’s Bad” is bubbling with has a suggestively electric allure. There’s also spiritual call-and-response of “When I Get Home” with Bloomfield’s lace delicately wrapped around the choir phrases before Michael’s own pipes hand “Used To It” to an eager congregation, so escaping this album doesn’t feel a polite option. It’s as exciting as its title suggests and, reissued after years of being overlooked, can proudly enrich the legend’s legacy. ****1/2
DMME.net (November 2018)
At the centre of the album he has the blues; at the edges he mixes radio-friendly material with soul…This succeeds, for example, in the harmonica blues “Heaven Help Me” and the soft funk “Working On A Love Affair”.
Musik An Sich (Translated – November 2018)
Three of the covers really stand out, with The Meters’ “Fire On The Bayou” perfect for this bass thrumming, holler and response setting, while a hi-hat popping rocked up version of The Yardbirds “For Your Love” really should have been a smash hit. It’s remarkably good fun and thoroughly irresistible, while still utterly throwaway. Whereas the thump, bump and brass of “Living For The Weekend” is an unabashed funk-a-junk strut. However it might just be the Barkan/Michaels composition, “New England Sunshine” that glitters in the brightest fashion here, the piano-strings ballad, again, as 70s as they come, with all the trappings of the huge swaying slowie from that era, but if you’re not crooning along by the end of it, then I’ll be very surprised.
Sea Of Tranquility (November 2018)
James Montgomery was described by the late actor/musician Jim Belushi as “simply one of the best” and also as someone who is “funkier than a six pack of onions!” In 1970 he formed The James Montgomery Blues Band and soon they were the hottest live properties on the Boston New England music scene along with J Geils Band and Aerosmith. Signed then to Capricorn Records in ’73, reviewers wrongly assumed the band were from the south when in fact they were from Detroit originally. James then signed to the Waterhouse label for his blues/rock album “Duck Fever” which was recorded in West 54th St, New York with some heavy hitting session musicians guesting and released in 1978. Now remastered and released on CD for the very first time.
Keys and Chords (October 2018)