Sunday, April 26, 2009

Various Artists - Chicago Blues: A Living History (Raisin Music, 2009)

Co-led by bluesmen Billy Boy Arnold, John Primer, Billy Branch and Lurrie Bell, this audacious two disc set attempts nothing less than charting the history of and paying tribute to fifty years of post-war Chicago blues. For the most part this collection succeeds very well with spirited renditions of well known blues classics, and the different men take turns leading and singing. Arnold has been a presence on the Chicago scene for decades, and he uses this experience to fill his harmonica and vocals with passion, swinging hard on "She's Love Crazy" and "I Wish You Would." John Primer's strong guitar playing and deep emotional vocals power Howlin' Wolf's "Moanin' at Midnight" as well as "Sugar Sweet" and "Can't Stand To See You Go." Little know Johnny Iguana keeps the Chicago blues piano tradition alive, taking Big Maceo's "Chicago Breakdown" solo and then keeping the music flowing briskly on "Memphis Slim, USA." Harmonica Player ans singer Billy Branch swaggers through a couple of classics, Junior Wells legendary "Hoodoo Man Blues" and the classic "One More Mile" with swooping harp and resonant vocals. Fans of the traditional electric blues, especially of the Windy City variety will find a lot to like on this collection as if features some of the city's top musical talent coming together to keep the music alive and moving forward.
Chicago Blues: A Living History -

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