The Sauce Boss
It never hurts to have a gimmick, and this guy’s got a doozey. Bill Wharton, “The Sauce Boss,” plays funky, swampy blues, and cooks gumbo on stage while he’s playing. I’m not sure how he plucks the strings, works the frets, chops onions, and stirs, but the music sounds pretty good. His brand of blues isn’t quite as depressing as the original Delta style, but he’s pretty decent with the double entendre stuff like “Digging My Potatoes” and “Sweet Stuff.” Listen to Wharton for a while and every food item starts to sound sexy.
Wharton plays a 1959 Les Paul through a 1948 Fender amp, so his equipment is as authentic as his slightly loose upper-plate singing style. This guy comes out of Monticello, Florida and seems to play mostly in-state. He’s got a Parrothead connection — Buffet sings about him in “I Will Play For Gumbo.” Wharton claims to have fed 150,000 people for free through his Planet Gumbo organization which might just be more effective than anything Bono does. The Sauce Boss is the real deal — self-taught, authentic-sounding, and just weird enough to stand out in a crowd. This is a GREAT blues disc.