"Keeping the Blues Alive Award" Achievement for Blues on the Internet Presented by The Blues Foundation
If you already know what you like, you probably won't enjoy this CD. That's because you won't already know anything like it. On the other hand, if you come to it with an open mind you might enjoy it. I know I do.
John Sinclair has a long, colourful history. As well as his poetry you may know of him as manager of the MC5, founder of the White Panthers, co-founder of the Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival, prisoner (sentenced to ten years for giving away two joints) or subject of a John Lennon song.
Previous releases like "Full Moon Night" and "If I Could Be With You" were similar to this in terms of Sinclair's own contributions, but their musical context was more the modern jazz of musicians such as John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk.
On this album, the eight tracks (averaging nine minutes each) explore the blues heritage, being poems about the likes of Tommy Johnson, Robert Lockwood Jnr, Sunnyland Slim and Sonny Boy Williamson II. Their reminiscences, some from interviews with Robert Palmer, are quoted liberally.
As far as the accompaniment is concerned (but no further) Captain Beefheart's "Safe As Milk" and early Canned Heat are useful reference points. Rhythm guitarist Bill Lynn gets co-composition credits, but the bulk of the invention is from the guitars of Everette Eglin and Jeff Baby Grand.
"The Wolf Is At Your Door" is a typical track (but then they all are). The rhythm section drive the "Smokestack Lightnin'" riff singlemindedly for twelve minutes, so what goes on top of that has to hold the listener's attention. That consists of Sinclair's meditation on Howlin' Wolf, interjections by three singerettes and some intelligent improvisation by Eglin. Fortunately, Sinclair's thoughts are interesting, passionately performed and occasionally amusing.
If you have a gap in your collection between Beefheart and Lord Buckley, John Sinclair might fit there, but this is not an album of which one can say, "If you like X, you'll like Fattening Frogs For Snakes," because X simply doesn't exist. Although the album is available from amazon.com they have no audio samples from it. However there are samples from Sinclair's album "Full Circle", and if you like what you can hear there of "Doctor Blues" and "Shake 'Em On Down", I would recommend you to invest in this. At least when Volume Two comes out you'll have something to file it with.
Your purchase through this Amazon.com link helps to support this website.
Simply click on the cover at left or the buy button to order this CD NOW!
You can help support this blues website by making a contribution (click on the banner below for details).
Or mail a donation to: Ray Stiles % Blues On Stage, PO Box 582983, Mpls, MN 55458. Thanks!
Web Hosting & Design: Web Hosting & Design.
Most affordable web hosting and design services available.
Find out how you can host your current site at Blues On Stage, or how I can help you design your own website!
If you would like your CD reviewed, please send TWO (2) copies, along with promotional material to:
Blues On Stage
PO Box 582983
Minneapolis, MN 55458-2983