Derrick Procell
Hello Mojo!

Catfood Records
Publicity: Blind Raccoon
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro © August 2022

In addition to Hello Mojo! being Derrick Procell’s second release, he’s also written songs for Blues Music Award winners and Grammy nominees such as Big Lou, The Cash Box Kings and Shemekia Copeland – it’s a good guess that most blues fans are familiar with him.  On the other hand, Derrick is one of those people that even those who may think they’ve never heard of him most likely have – without knowing it.  Having done advertising voice overs for McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Ford, Chevy, Kellogg’s and several beer companies; and with his songs having been played on “My Name is Earl”, “True Blood”, “Criminal Minds”, “Boston Legal”, “Saving Grace”, “The Office”, “This Is Us”, and many others, I rest my case. 
On Hello Mojo!, in addition to the disc’s producer Zac Harmon playing guitar on a few tracks; singer, songwriter, harmonica player and pianist Derrick Procell is backed by the Catfood Records studio band, The Rays, who are: Johnny McGhee on guitar; Richy Puga on drums;  Dan Ferguson on keyboards; Bob Trenchard (the label’s owner) on bass; Andy Roman on tenor and alto saxophones; Nick Flood on baritone and tenor saxophones; Mike Middleton on trumpet; and Frank Otero on trombone.  Additional performers include: Munyungo Jackson on percussion; Peter Neumer on sax; Steve Duncan on trombone; and Sueann Carwell, Meredith Colby and Jessica Ivey on background vocals.  Of the disc’s ten tracks, nine are penned or co-penned by Derrick.   
With just about everyone mentioned in the credits appearing on it, the title track “Hello Mojo1” – has a whole lot going on.  Lyrically, the cleverly written song is about Derrick’s long-lost libido suddenly reappearing.  As he says, it was like it had “checked into the witness protection program” or “went back into a bottle and would not come out”.  That is, of course, until out of nowhere some vixen shook that bottle, popped its cork and had Derrick joyfully shouting “Hello Mojo! Nice to have you Back. Hello Mojo! Stay right where you’re at.”  Musically, it’s a horn and rhythm driven smoker that should get pretty much everyone’s mojo working.  With The Rays already lighting things up, the extra added percussion from Munyungo; the sax and trombone solos from Peter and Steve; and the background singers very melodically saying hello to their mojo as well, this one turned into a happening.
Like them or not (and I loved ’em), the “Rocky” movies did feature some great songs.  And with lyrics like this, The Contender could easily be one of them:

“I want the taste of blood again, even if it’s my own.
Just one more chance, just one more shot.
Remember who I was, remember how I fought. 

They say I’m too old now, I might just be a little slow.
But I got a punchers chance if I can get toe to toe.
There ain’t no fight that I’ll refuse. It ain’t over, I’m just battered and bruised.
Got no fear, got nothing to lose…”

Derrick’s powerful and convincing vocals; Zac’s stinging guitar leads; and the profound rhythm Rich and Bob are punching out on the drums and bass all give it the intensity that “Eye of the Tiger” gave “Rocky III” and the fabulous background vocals that Sueann, Meredith and Jessica are ‘belting’ out are quite reminiscent of the chorus being sung on “Gonna Fly Now” from “Rocky”.  Should there ever be another film in the series, with Derrick’s TV and movie connections – and the seed now planted – I could see it happening.  Hey, I’d also see the movie.
“I’ve been knocking back bourbon since the day I could spell Jim Beam;
    And Mississippi moonshine that’d turn your blood to steam.
I can hold more tequila than Zorro on the fifth of May;
    And more Jamison than Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day”…
May not exactly be attributes that Derrick would want to put on a resume but by soulfully following it up with…..
“But tonight, I’m gonna treat myself and have “A Tall Glass Of You” – and leave the bottle”

Derrick obviously seems to think that it’s a great way to introduce himself to a woman.  I wonder how that went?  It’s funky rhythm vibe and catchy chorus line definitely make this a great one to dance and sing along to. 
Unintended, as I’m sure it was, I just couldn’t help but chuckle at the idea of “I Can’t Say No (To You)” being the perfect segue to “A Tall Glass of You”. Think about it…  That said, it is another of the many tracks on which Derrick and the ladies work their vocal magic together, and another on which they create a groovy sing-along vibe. This pairing was indeed a match made in musical heaven.  Speaking of working magic together, Andy, with his killer sax solos, and the rest of this fabulous horn section are doing just that as well.

Hearing Dan Ferguson on “Color of an Angel” makes it easy to understand why Derrick – when speaking of the title track – said, “It’s the only song I played piano on. I handed the rest of the keyboard duties over to the more than capable Mr. Ferguson.”.  His organ work, along with the angelic backing vocals, is the perfect accompaniment to this spiritually soulful ballad.
Although his vocal prowess has been evident throughout the disc, the closing track – “Bittersweet Memory” – is a melancholic ballad that showcases Derrick’s powerful, soulful and emotional vocal talents.  This is the kind of stuff I’d like to hear a whole album of, especially if Sueann, Meredith and Jessica were involved.
Other songs on this must have release include: “Skin in The Game”; “Broken Promise”; “Baby I’m Lost” and a cover of The Kinks’ “Who’ll Be the Next in Line” (Ray Davies).

To find out more about The Derrick Procell, just go to  Remember, whomever you contact, please tell them their friend the Blewzzman sent you. 

The Blues Is My Passion And Therapy
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro
Blues Editor @
2011 “Keeping The Blues Alive” Award Recipient

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