Monday, September 18, 2017

Lazy Lester - I'm a Lover Not a Fighter

Subtitled "The Complete Excello Singlers 1956-1962", this set compiles some amazing, swampy, Jimmy Reed-like blues/r'n'b from the harp-blowin' Lester and continues with several bonus tracks of his session work for others.

After a chance bus meeting with Lightnin' Slim, Lester accompanied him to a studio session and sat in with Slim when the harmonica player that was booked didn't show up. This led to his own contract with Excello and the results appear here!

As I said, most of the work here is pretty damn superior mid-tempo, harp-driven blues in the mold of Jimmy Reed, with that kind of cool, swampy backbeat. "Lester's Stomp" is a great harp instrumental in the vein of Little Walter's "Juke", he's got his own calling card in "They Call Me Lazy", the Kinks covered his "I'm a Lover, Not a Fighter", the Fabulous Thunderbirds had a hit with his rockin' "Sugar Coated Love" (which Pat Todd and the Rank Outsiders also do on their latest album - which is where I found out about Lester) and "I Hear You Knockin'" (which Todd adds as a medley with "Love") continues in this swingin' style.

"Through the Goodness of My Heart" provides some hand-clappin' r'n'b, "Late in the Evening" and "Bye Bye Baby"are upbeat dance numbers, he slows down for "A Real Combination For Love" and "You Got Me Where You Want Me", sax is added to the mix for the slow-steppin' "Whoa Now" and more cool swamp-blues for his last couple tracks.

His session work is highlighted starting with Slim Harpo's "My Home Is a Prison", Tabby Thomas' bopppin' "Role On Ole Mule", Lightnin' Slim's slow'n'evil "Nothing But the Devil", Lonesome Sundown's jumpin' jive in "Gonna Stick To You Baby", another Tabby Thomas piece "Hoodoo Party" and finally, one more from Lightnin' Slim with "Rooster Blues".

Great comp of this lesser-known talent!