CD review by Tony Smith
John Cupit and Graeme Druce recorded 13 fine tracks of original blues for this album.
If they were giving out prizes for the most ‘economical’ sleeve information, this CD would win very easily.
They thank Jim Conway for tireless commitment to the blues and for being a friend and mentor, Neil Graham for custom harmonicas, photographers Murray Foote and Ted Liguz and patrons and promoters, but otherwise all is mysterious.
There are photos of the two on front and back of the sleeve.
They do list the names of the tracks, but not their individual times, which collectively produce about an hour of enjoyable music on blues harp and guitar.
They both do some singing, sometimes in appropriate harmony.
The title track ‘Living in a Cooling Hell’ is distinctly laid back with a long instrumental lead in and out.
This one would not be out of place in the Mississippi Delta.
‘Fat Hands’ makes a nice contrast and has a Vaudeville sound.
‘Stockman’s Hobble Belt’ features some fine bending.
‘Little By Little’ is one of those tracks that depends on the timing between phrases and Doggn It time the pauses well.
‘The Hungry Mile’ is a perennial symbol of hard toil.
Sydney’s hungry mile along the docks has inspired many laments about the heavy work of the stevedore and the way labour hiring practices exploited the day labourers.
‘CEO Blues’ is a humorous song.
What else could it be?
‘Unsatisfied Woman’ slips into country style guitar, but is no less expressive for that.
‘She didn’t find happiness living with me’.
This, at heart, is the source of all the blues.
‘Dead River Blues’ is an environmental protest song lamenting the state of the river systems in New South Wales.
It is encouraging to hear blues musicians looking beyond their own woes.
‘Life You Choose’ is a slow burner.
‘Atonement Blues’ is a cheeky number with the guitar’s higher strings featured.
‘The Dog I Am’ expresses a challenge to ‘treat me like the dog I am’.
‘Morning Sky’ has an appealing opening riff and expresses a well know blues promise: ‘Flying back to you my little girl.’
Doggn It Blues has been a popular live act at folk clubs and festivals throughout New South Wales.
They quickly develop rapport with appreciative audiences.
A Cooling Hell gives a nice sample of their work.