Moving to the Windy City when stalwarts like Sunnyland Slim, Little Brother Montgomery, Blind John Davis, and others were still throwing down the goods, Barrelhouse Chuck Goering became fast friends with them and others as well. He delivers solid two-fisted Chicago piano on this 17-track, hour long set that features a nice cross-section of guests, and from those who requested Chuck's assistance, it's evident he's been respected for a number of years. He's been busy honing his skills and 25 Years Of Chicago Blues Piano covers a good portion of his career. Although no recording dates are given, it gathers selections where he appeared on other works.
Johnny B. Moore hands in taut guitar on Mama Told Me, loosely based on the Poor Boy theme and stays along for Bonnie Lee's powerful vocal on Baby It's Cold Outside, then Billy Flynn sits in on a number of cuts. With sweet and shimmering guitar on the relaxed Blues For Pinetop Perkins, it's one of the set's many high points. Chuck takes his first of only two slots at the microphone for Floyd Jones' Any Old Lonesome Day, sounding comfortable as Flynn laces the surroundings with traditional Chicago guitar, plus a stunning Farewell To S.P. Leary, a wonderful nod to one of Chicago's best blues drummers from a Mississippi Heat collaboration. The intensity here picks up decidedly with Pierre Lacocque's rich harmonica and terse guitar from Carl Weathersby while Goering offers a passionate vocal. Flynn heads up a couple more solid instrumentals including Earl Hooker's Wah-Wah Blues and Hound Dog Taylor's Walkin' The Ceiling, both with excellent results, while other talent includes harpist, R.J. Mischo, on Get Your Money, a storming shuffle, and Todd Levine, sounding not unlike Little Walter for Hangin' 'Round The House. The late West Side Chicago guitar slinger, Hip Linkchain, shows his sadly missed, forceful approach on the bristling House Cat Blues, tracked in 1985 and Otis "Big Smokey" Smothers, who passed away in 1993 was equally at home on I'll Be Your King. Bill Lupkin handles vocal and harmonica chores on a 'live' recording of Junior Parker's Man Or Mouse and other appearances are turned in by a bevy of familiar Chicago names including Rich Kirch, Frank Bandy, Calvin Jones, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, his son, Kenny, and plenty more.
One of the finer points of this CD is that it shows a good sampling of the career of Barrelhouse Chuck, it's not a grandstanding showcase for his abilities. Much like Otis Spann, who remained quietly in the background on recordings of Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, and more, Chuck makes his presence known by offering the perfect fill at the right time.
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