This is the third release on the Earwig label for Louisiana Red (Iverson Minter). His previous outings have been tremendously successful following his casual repatriation to the American blues scene. Touring Europe while also living abroad, Red gained a huge international following, that is only excited to hear of his new issue. By playing his solitaire brand of acoustic blues at festivals and gigs here and there, Red became a hot commodity in the newly-found blues appreciation that is so rampant today. On this release he reassembled the cardinal cast of Chicago's finest sidemen.
Red is backed by the same band that supported his last Earwig effort, Millennium Blues. Dave Jefferson is pounding the skins, and Willie Kent is fingering the bass strings. Allen Batts is working the ivories on the piano, and Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith turns in the harmonica chores. Brian Bisesi supports on the rhythm axe chair, as Red weaves his lead guitar patterns and digs deeply for his vocal responses.
Minter is a performer who relives his experiences in song. Tunes like "In The Garden", "Getting Weaker By The Day", Hard Hard Time", and many of the others speak of Red's life and times, and often of the injustices he has passed along the way. With his heads-up Chicago crew though, Red is much more concerned with the essences of his music as you hear from the opening title tune, "Driftin'". Loaded with Chicago flavorings, Red still reaches within to pull out exemplary singin' and stringin'. Get loaded on Red's slide activity on "Hard Hard Time", his economy on Lightnin' Hopkins "Bring Me Some Water", or his boogied attack on "Leaving Grandma". "Powder Room Blues" can't be beat, either!
Whatever way you look at or listen to it, Louisiana Red measures up; with dues paid long ago. Red's chameleonic understanding finds him at his electric, rockin' best on "The Day I Met B.B. King", championing work song remains in "Keep Your Hands On The Plow", or issuing a reverent point on the traditional "He Will See You Through". Louisiana Red's body of work here is varied, versatile, and vibrant; check the movin' "Chankity Chank Chank" with Red's haunting guitar licks and searing vox. Hard finding anything to complain about here; well, suppose we jump up and down for more. Would that work?
Earwig Music Company, Inc.; 1818 West Pratt Blvd.; Chicago, IL 60626-3120
This review is copyright © 2001 by Mark A. Cole, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.