JJ Grey & Mofro

I was starting to put together this year’s Different Kind of Top 10 Music List (prior versions here: 2006, 2005  and 2004), when I realized I hadn’t written up one of my favorite discs this year: Country Ghetto by JJ Grey & Mofro.

I was driving home one night.,. when I hear this sound come oozing out of my car speakers: A funky, steamy, swamp rock blues number, with a long intro that finally came to a great groove: (slide over here and click Turpentine)

On the strength of that song, I ordered the disc, and I was not disappointed. The music is a great cross-breeding experiment across genres: Start with swamp rock, add some smoldering blues, slip in  vintage soul, and finally, some gospel-fried funk.

Songwriting influences are apparent: Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker,
Jerry Reed, Bill Withers, Otis Redding, Dr. John, Sly
& The Family Stone, Van Morrison, Howlin’ Wolf, George Jones, and James Brown.


"a down-and-dirty delight, and a fine addition to the swamp rock canon"   -allmusic.com

"intriguing and fortuitous… Grey’s a songwriter with a sharp wit and a knack for skewering the hypocrites, jive politicians and carpetbaggers who litter the landscape. The MOFRO vibe travels freely among swamp funk, blues, rock and soul, and does so with a certain down-and-dirty swagger that’s as real as it is appealing."    -Billboard

"A Southern-fried Sly and the Family Stone."    -Don McLees

Other links: 

Home page
My Space (5 streaming songs)


Videos after the jump.

(Um, might someone from Madison House Management consider releasing some higher quality videos to YouTube?   Most of these are pretty medicore sound quality . . . )



JJ Grey & Mofro Videos:

Lochloosa JJ Grey & Mofro Seattle

"War" at the Wakarusa Music Festival in
Lawrence, KS 6-8-07

Dirtfloor: Live from Saturday in the Park in Sioux City Iowa

JJ Grey solo acoustic  "Country Ghetto," live at Criminal Records ATL,

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. David commented on Dec 4

    Barry, dig the blog. Are you familiar w/ The Gourds?

  2. norman commented on Dec 4

    I just played a few bars of the first song that came up and decided not to go further. But if this has some Dr. John in it you should just buy (and wear out)”’Goin’ Back to New Orleans”’ from 1992. Make your friends happy and gift it.

  3. ken h commented on Dec 4

    Kinda reminds me of Johnny Lang. what ever happened to that kid?

  4. SiamTwin commented on Dec 4

    their previous 2 albums are even better – they just go under the name Mofro.

  5. Brian Fox commented on Dec 4

    Don’t Tread on ME!!!

  6. mitchell commented on Dec 4

    br, you’re not a bad muso for an old man. Mofro has been around the jam circuit for last 10 years and always produces quality swamp boogie. Check out the “bird and the bee” for your different 2007 list, the singer’s a true star…btw, great jeff beck piece, even though he is nigel tufnel.

  7. Barry Ritholtz commented on Dec 4

    Not Bad?!? I’m insulted.

    I’ve been kicking it with a tasty groove ever since there was terrible music to rebel against. (It used to be disco, now its BLS).

    The years only means I have that much more depth of exposure to the really good stuff that came out before you were born . . .

  8. lutton commented on Dec 5

    an interview and performance here:


    JJ Grey and Mofro Plays ‘Country Ghetto’

    Hear the Session

    JJ Grey and Mofro describes their sound as “southern-fried swamp rock.” Their new release, “Country Ghetto,” is a nod to the musical roots of their northern Florida home and delivers a fresh take on the area’s classic sounds. Hear an interview and in-studio performance, recorded by WXPN.

  9. Fred commented on Dec 6

    They are even better live.

    Agree with the first post here on The Gourds. Check them out Barry.

  10. Clay commented on Mar 12

    Mofro (JJ Grey & Mofro) has one of the best live shows you’ll ever go to. I’ve literally been to over 20 concerts of theirs in the past 15 months or so. If they come within a couple hours of you–GO. You’ll be hooked, I guarantee it! There’s much more info about them on the new fansite at:

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