Finally there is a live blues disc with blues played the way it is supposed to be. After hearing this 70 minute juke joint jam, you will be planning a trip to the deep South to experience real blues in person. Last Of The Mississippi Jukes transports you to Clarksdale, Mississippi's Ground Zero blues club. Aside from music, the club is well known for being established by actor Morgan Freeman. Listeners also journey to Jackson's infamous Subway Lounge which is housed in the rapidly crumbling Summers Hotel.
The CD used for this review was an advance copy. Since there were no liner notes, no information about the recordings (dates, songwriters, etc) are available. However, the live music contained is excellent making this CD a strong contender for recording of the year. None of the 14 tracks are polished. Nothing was refined in a high-tech studio. What you get is a safe-keep of the way things went down in these jukes. Given the fact the juke was the original all-night rave where there is smokin', drinkin' and chicken wings all night long, you are in for a wild, blues ride.
On "Joe Friday", Alvin Youngblood Hart lays down impeccable slide while Sam Carr performs a reverberating shuffle on skins. The Deep Cuts throw down a heavy, deep blues beat about getting caught cheating called "Every Goodbye Don't Mean I'm Gone". You will find Bobby Rush at his tamest on "Garbage Man". Here, its just Bobby and his harp. Patrice Moncell (Mississippi's Queen of the Blues) commands the crowd on "Stormy Monday". She has one of those growl-like voices that sounds like her vocal chords are made of sand. Backed by the Houserockers, the tune contains gritty guitar and an alto sax that soars as effortlessly as a dove. Later, Patrice gnarls out a risqué rendition of "Strokin'" which should be the version now played at wedding receptions and dances. Vasti Jackson describes the downside of the Mississippi casino rage on "Casino In The Cottonfield". She contemplates "is that vision really real". Chris Thomas King performs by himself on an acoustic track about a bootlegger. Dennis Fountain and Pat Brown vocally sing a duet of Little Milton's "The Blues Is Alright". The backing band features an outright kicking axe-man making the tune keep the raw-ness from the original. Supremo slide guitar and harp outperform Lucille's vocals on "What Goes Around, Comes Around". The King Edward Blues Band's "Hole In The Wall" is a dancin', butt-shakin' groove that could have been a Stax hit. The tune accurately describes the party atmosphere of a juke joint.
This CD contains authentic, Southern American blues as can only be found in the jukes you were warned to avoid. The only downside is that Abdul Rasheed performs once. With a voice as husky as his, he needs an entire album! This disc will do more for Mississippi tourism than mockingbirds and magnolias and it will reconfirm your love of the blues. It is an unsurpassed collection of juicy tunes, fervent singers and well-honed musicians. Get it!
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