Sometimes when the weather is warm and the sun is out all you really want to do is take it easy, not have to think about anything and lay in a hammock and gently rock back and forth until you fall asleep.

Fortunately Sonny Thompson is thinking of you and wrote and recorded a song for just such an occasion.

Fortunate for you that is, not so fortunate for him if he intends to sell this record.


If rock ‘n’ roll is music that seems to thrive at night, lurking in the darkness up to no good, setting the scenes for parties that are only in full swing sometime after midnight and creating a mood for what happens between you and your baby after those parties end, it might stand to reason that, like vampires, rock ‘n’ roll shuns the daylight.

But how much time is actually spent in these environs and how much is spent in the usual 9-5 routine instead is another question altogether. If all you’re using rock ‘n’ roll for is as a soundtrack for your nocturnal crimes against nature, as fun as that will be, my guess is you won’t be among the living very long.

So Sonny Thompson trying to – pardon the pun – brighten things up, probably wasn’t the worst idea in theory, but in reality Sunshine Blues is neither sunny, nor bluesy, but instead rock lounge music that ironically sounds as if it’s a capper to a late night… for octogenarians that is who look at the clock and see that they’ve stayed up twenty minutes past their bedtime.

Yup, it’s 8:05 PM. Time to turn in.


The Weather Today Will Be… Best Skipped Over
After a career that saw him score two chart toppers in 1948 and help to establish the instrumental groove that was such a key component of rock, we’re now confronted with the sounds of Sonny Thompson limbering up his fingers for a piano recital.

At least I hope that’s what this exercise in banality is because it sure isn’t what we’ve come to hope for out of him. Yet at the same time it’s also not exactly what we’ve come to fear from him, that is to say if you knew Sunshine Blues wasn’t aiming to be a grinding dance floor workout you’d probably assume it was an attempt to show his technical abilities on a florid classy tune instead.

Actually that would be better for us because we could dismiss it without wasting time writing about it but instead Thompson seems to sort of trying to create a slow jam without knowing for sure what that would entail. Maybe if the arrangement he and Henry Glover came up with here was more intricate there might something to praise, but instead it’s a bare bones production that almost sounds like something they were doing when the engineer went to lunch and left the tapes rolling.

Though there was a saxophonist on the session, he apparently joined the engineer for turkey sandwich next door, because what we’re left with is Carl Pruitt playing a very prominent bass, drummer Harold Austin keeping metronomic time behind him and some fills by Hurley Ramsey on guitar which at times sound as if he’s playing a lute.

Had he actually done so then, yes, kudos for the experimentation, but instead it’s a plain guitar played plainly and though maybe the musicianship of the foursome is better than we’re making it out to be, WHAT they’re playing is worse than what we’re making it out to be and so we’re not going to spare their feelings.

To wit: this record is nothing more than a waste of time.

Their time, our time and now, faithful reader, your time as well, so rather than risk having you take your ire out on us for subjecting you to it, we’ll cut this review short with a minimum of fuss.

Today’s High Was… Low
It’s a funny thing about sunshine… as nice as it can be, as preferable as it to the alternatives, not all sun is created equal.

Some days the sun will be out bright and early and you’ll have high hopes for a nice day, only to then have the clouds come and cover the sky while you’re in the shower, ruining your plans and your mood in the process.

Then there are those days where there’s a hazy sun which is frustrating as can be if you’re at the beach, waiting for the skies to fully clear. It’s just bright enough to keep you from leaving, still hoping for the best, but never nice enough to fully enjoy the the time you spend there.

Finally there are those days where it’s just nasty out, wind, rain and dark ominous clouds, keeping you indoors for hours on end, never wanting to even look out a window and see how bad it is, only to have the sun make a fleeting appearance after dinner when it’s too late to go out and get anything done.

Yet any of those would be an improvement on Sonny Thompson’s Sunshine Blues which is the equivalent of looking at the forecast the day before, seeing a bright sun icon staring back at you, filling you with excitement over all of the fun you’ve got in mind and then the next morning waking up to a typhoon.


(Visit the Artist page of Sonny Thompson for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)