Friday, April 22, 2016

T-Bone Walker/Lowell Fulson - Blue on Blues

These Blue on Blues compilations combine two similar styled blues musicians in a single CD set of a handful of songs each - 6 in this case. Not exactly greatest hits packages, but more of a "here's some tunes you might not have heard before" set. I have enjoyed all of these that I have found, and this is another good one!

Of course, I am a huge fan of T-Bone Walker and his flashy playing and performance style. His cuts here stem from sessions in the mid-60's to 1970. "T-Bone's Back" was an obvious declaration of his hope for refound popularity. It fades quickly and oddly, almost in the middle of the song, after a solo by second guitarist Joey Long. He gives us a swingin', soulful take on "Baby Please Don't Go", that's also far too short, and then an excellent jump-blues workout in "Louisiana Bayou Drive" that showed that he was still in fine form at this point. "Please Come Back To Me" is a haunting, minor-key, organ-driven slow blues with more fantastic signature licks from T-Bone. There's a return to groovin' jump-blues in "Sometimes I Wonder" before concluding his section with a "Stormy Monday"-like slow blues in "(You'll Never Find Anyone) To Be a Slave Like Me".

Lowell Fulson's numbers also come from 60's/70's sessions, as opposed to his earlier hey-day, and certainly sounds more modern than even T-Bone's work from a similar time period. Fulson was definitely influenced by Walker and both, in turn, influenced BB King, and this session sounds similar in tone to something that BB would have done at this time. "Henpecked" is actually fairly funky and Lowell duels with his second guitarist here to good effect. A slower blues, "Deep In Love", follows with some gospel-esque choral backing and an intense vocal reading by Lowell. Movin' like a fast-runnin' train, "Stop and Think" is a bouncin' rocker with cool guitar runs and some nice harp work. The soulful instrumental "Bluesway" sounds like it could have come from a Stax session with the MG's - complete with funky wah-wah and cool horns. "Take My Hand" is funky and soulful with more fine guitar work and his set ends with the horn-driven "Sleeper", which also gives a funky groove to back Fulson's guitar.

Probably not the best place to start with these artists - their early work really shows off their talents -but still a great little comp. These are usually discount priced and worth the bux!