James, aka singer/guitarist Jimmy Horn, leads an always crack, often cracked stable of unstable players (including a firing squad of brass and the Happy Talk Band’s Casey McAllister on upright piano); between cuts, the bandleader dishes an amusingly macabre running commentary, riffing on Texas madman Johnny “Guitar” Watson (“died onstage, bad motherf—ker”) and Clarence “Frogman” Henry (“a fun song about killing yourself”). “Look,” he said matter-of-factly at one recent gig, “we gon’ play a suicidal song, then we gon’ come out and get some drinks witcha’.” And with that, the Special Man let ‘em have it. Free admission.

 

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