The first lesson you should learn at school is not that you have to understand Chemistry, you should only need to know that you feel it, the interaction and the harmony available between the elements, that in science the first law of thermodynamics is arguably the most poignant when it comes to human relationships, that the energy of the Universe is constant; Chemistry 101 is the place where attraction is upbeat, passionate and altogether carrying a groove which holds temptation in its hands.
Not everybody sees the value in science, some prefer to get their educational kicks writing out song lyrics on the back pages of a wallpaper covered text book, each have their place, each carry the momentum of what might be in the future for that person, it is basic understanding of the formative soul, Chemistry and music, the study of attraction.
It is an attraction that can be found in the constant flow and passionate deportment of John January’s and Linda Berry’s debut album, Chemistry 101.
Like a merger of minds, the combination of the Californian pair, assisted with sublime application the cause by the likes of Chuck Arcilla on saxophone, Dave Talbott on bass and vocals, Sonny Derrin on harmonica and Bill Fish on violin, seeks the light within each other and that of their chosen songs and subjects in which to cover.
Across an array of artists, from Verbie Gene Terry, Bob Dylan, J.J. Cale, Sonny Boy Williamson and Robert Johnson, John January’s searing guitar and keyboard work fuses with strong sentimentality and the enquiring push of inspiration from Linda Berry’s earthy vocals; it is a blend that catches fire in the mind of the listener, a uniting of both a physical appreciation to science, and the whimsical beauty of the sound of the human voice as it gathers enjoyment in what it is seeing unfold.
In songs such as Geechee Woman, Don’t Let Your Feet Get Cold, I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight, If I didn’t Know Better, I Will Forever Sing The Blues and Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean, John January and Linda Berry soar through the air of old Blues classics with positivity and revelry; a united form across two types of discipline, one which is an enjoyable reflection of love.
Ian D. Hall