Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lurrie Bell - Blues in My Soul (Delmark, 2013)

With his father the great harmonica player Carey Bell and godfather in another Chicago blues legend Eddie C. Campbell, it could be said that Lurrie Bell was born into the blues. Through a series of devastating personal events, he learned the true meaning of the blues first hand, and through sheer grit and determination, climbed his way back to the top of the blues scene. This album is a gritty affirmation about the power of the blues with Bell on vocals and guitar, aided by a crack band of Roosevelt Purifoy on piano and organ, Melvin Smith on bass, Wille Hays on drums, Matthew Skoller on harmonica and a three piece brass unit on a couple of songs. Bell's band has a classic gutsy Chicago sound, tough and sure, and their repertoire on this album draws heavily on the classic musical history of that great city. "I Feel So Good" and "She's a Good 'un" are excellent examples of the band proving that the blues is much more that hard times, with a swaggering sense roguish fun added to the music. "Hey Hey Baby" and "Southside to Riverside" make use of two trumpets and a saxophone to add some heft to the sound and the approach works well with these instrumental track "Southside" which allows the group to stretch out and Bell a chance to shine on guitar as the riffing horns frame his solos while on "Hey" they frame and his vocals. On his original "Blues in My Soul" he goes really deep inside himself with a harrowing meditation on heartache and pain. His jumping "24 Hour Blues" is dedicated to the great bluesman Magic Slim who passed away as this album was recorded. They pay tribute the the masters on the second half of the recording with tunes by T-Bone Walker, Eddie Boyd and Otis Spann, but they are all played in the Bell's own style, tipping his hat toward the legends in his own way. Fans of the Chicago school of blues shouldn't pass up on this album, Bell and the band are in crackling form, and his own story is as inspirational as the music. Blues in My Soul -

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