Willie Higgins is a guitarist with a notable past, having worked with numerous blues legends though out his musical career. His resume includes work with the likes of Luther Allison, Freddie King, Albert King, Little Milton and Buddy Miles among others. As you listen to Higgins self-produced release King of the Gypsies, you can hear the many varied influences in his guitar work. For a man who has labored for years behind some of the great blues guitarists, Higgins proves on this CD that he is an exceptional guitarist in his own right.
On this seven song CD, Higgins works to light a musical fire with two classic covers; "Bo Diddley" and John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillin', along with five originals that prove to be extremely well done and excellent examples of Higgin's ability as a song writer and guitarist. On several of the songs, most notably the title track, "King of the Gypsies," I found myself thinking that if Jimi Hendrix were still alive and playing the blues, this could be what he might sound like. In fact, although Higgins has worked with and/or been influenced by the "Three Kings," Albert, B.B. and Freddie, I initially thought that "King of the Gypsies" might actually be about the late Mr. Hendrix.
Generally the CD offers a mostly blues flavor, with a bit of rock, jazz, boogie and pop thrown in for good measure. Higgin's treatment of "Bo Diddley" and "Boogie Chillin'" are well done and very listenable. The Higgin's original "Blues Story" is also an excellent song that also demonstrated what I heard as a Hendrix influence. Along with "King of the Gypsies," my co-favorite song on the CD is Big Leg Woman with it's infectious groove beat and understated guitar. "Soft Sand" has a smoother, jazzier feel, similar to the style created in the work of George Benson, another exceptional guitarist. The CD ends with another Higgin's original, "I Remember." "I Remember" is an interesting acoustic slide guitar piece that reveals another aspect of Higgin's versatility on guitar. Regardless of the guitar style Higgin's attempts, his work is always exemplary.
Willie Higgins is a guitarist whose work demands greater recognition. Pick up a copy of King of the Gypsies and assist the venerable Mr. Higgin's in achieving the recognition that he deserves. To find out more about this CD, contact Angel Magic Music at P.O. Box 45323, Madison, Wisconsin 53744-5323 or visit their website at www.angelmagicmusic.com.
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