Sunday, March 13, 2011

John Primer - Call Me John Primer (Wolf, 2010)

Guitarist and songwriter John Primer is a solid meat and potatoes bluesman who moved north from Mississippi to Chicago and gradually moved from apprentice musician in the clubs to a leader in his own right. This album is a selection of songs from his Wolf label recordings, a nice mix of live and studio songs that reflect his strong respect and admiration for the blues tradition. It's a nicely varied mix of material from a the stripped down version of Jimmy Hendrix's "Red House" to the slow and relaxed Jimmy Reed shuffle "Goin' to New York." "Shake Your Moneymaker" shows Primer's admiration for slide guitar master Elmore James, whom he recorded a full tribute album, Blue Steel, for in the 1990's. There are also some fine collaborations with harmonica master Billy Branch, and the two make for a potent front line, with Primer's stinging guitar and strong vocals contrasted by Branch's swooping and swaying harmonica. The material presented here covers a wide range of material from a couple of Howlin' Wolf songs "Evil" and "I've Been Abused" to Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Look at Little Sister." These show Primer's eclectic taste and talent with the blues and the live tracks demonstrate his rapport with the audience. This is a well done introduction to one of the unsung heroes of contemporary Chicago blues, and a treat for anyone who likes their music raw and unadorned. Call Me John Primer -

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