Monday, January 27, 2020

Chicago Blues Band

This one was an impulse buy while visiting our local Zia Records. Laser Light Digital produced this cheapo release and the liner notes are so minimal that there is not even a recording date for this live show. Apparently it was cut in the "late 1960's" on a European tour, which makes sense as those package tours gathered a number of the best blues performers and they all played together in order to minimize costs. John Lee Hooker's name is the big draw on this one, but the band is exceptional - Sunnyland Slim on piano, Johnny Shines on guitar, Willie Dixon on bass and Clifton James on drums! A dream team, to be sure!

Hooker takes front'n'center on the bulk of the record, doing his own "Crawling King Snake", "Dimples", "It Serves You Right To Suffer", "Maudie" and "Boom Boom", while the band vamps on "Chicago Boogie Style" before Sunnyland takes the lead on "She's Got a Thing Goin' On". Master songwriter and bassist Dixon sings his own "29 Ways", James vocalizes on "Wee Wee Hours" and the great Johnny Shines (I have ranted'n'raved about his several times) gets three originals, "I Do Believe", "Fat Mama" and "RE Boogie", where he accompanies himself on electric guitar (with the full band backing him) - the first I have heard from him as he normally plays acoustic, Robert Johnson-ish country blues!

This is a surprise package, but a solid set from masters of the Chicago (area) Blues scene and again, a super buy at its discounted price.