Son Seals was the third artist ever recorded by Alligator, he's been with them since 1973, and made eight albums there. This "best of" compilation is part of the Deluxe series that Alligator's been doing, sampling from their artists vaults, including unissued tracks and a fold-out mini-poster as part of the CD packaging.
Seals, aka "Bad Axe" has a solid muscular guitar sound; not particularly fleet or intricate, nonetheless played with a hard-bitten and burning energy. His first album, SON SEALS BLUES BAND, was a funky entry in a then overcrowded blues-guitar field. Seals songwriting was another individual facet that stood out-that album included "Your Love Is Like A Cancer", and the infectious "Why Did She Leave Me". His 2nd effort, MIDNIGHT SON sold well and Seals went on to have a long lasting career in clubs and at festivals, which continues today-despite him being shot in the face (was "Before The Bullets Fly" was cut before his wife took after him???) and later losing a leg to diabetes-he now performs from a wheelchair.
This set surveys his catalogue, generally taking two or three cuts from each release (excepting none from LIVING IN THE DANGER ZONE), trading on his live performance rep with 4 live cuts and adding an unreleased track "Life All By Myself". Seals has stayed basically the same through-out the years, singing with a passionate urgency, turning out direct, strong guitar riffs. The back-up groups vary from sparse on the earliest tracks to full horn-bands filling up all the cracks on later efforts-the sparser arrangements showcase him better, for my money. Eight of the 15 tracks were written by Seals, covers include Ray Charles "I Believe To My Soul" and Elmore James "I Can't Hold Out." The 65 minute disc closes with ":Hot Sauce" an aptly named instrumental.
Altogether a good sampling of a solid journeyman blues player, who's groove is cut deep into the genre.
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