brought to you by
Blues On Stage
"Keeping the Blues Alive Award" Achievement for Blues on the Internet|
Presented by The Blues Foundation
Let’s Talk About Love
(Aria B. G. Records, CD - ABG 1)
Review Date: Nov 2008
by Jim Angehr
Electric, Chicago blues is both the easiest and hardest kind of blues to play today. It’s easy because it’s probably the most structurally simple blues, as far as chord changes, tempos, and so on. At the same time, it’s extremely difficult to take such a classic and, some would say, static style and produce something compelling, fresh, and new.
The good news is that this is exactly the case with Lurrie Bell’s first (domestically released) album since 1999, Let’s Talk About Love. Bell’s lineage (son of famed Chicago blues harp genius Carey Bell) and personal history have been discussed at length over the years—probably too much length, actually—and it’s redundant to bring it up again, especially since one listen to Let’s Talk About Love tells you everything you need to know about Lurrie Bell: His understanding and execution of Chicago blues is unsurpassed among players of his generation.
Having a crack backing band helps, too. On Love, the rhythm section of Felton Crews (bass) and Kenny Smith (drums) brings that signature Chicago crunch to this batch of songs but sacrifices nothing in terms of swing. (Check out the title track and hear how the Windy City can bounce as much as anything from the West Coast.) Second guitarist Anthony Palmer is an absolute rhythm monster all over the record, and he’s churning especially vigorously on “Cold Chills”—when Bell dials in for a solo, you’ll be hard-pressed to tear your ears away from his rhythm work. Kids, this is all the combo you need to have a jumping Chicago blues band—but then again, you won’t be anywhere near this good.
And then we have Bell himself. He burst onto the scene as a solo artist in 1995 with the harrowing Mercurial Son, which charted new directions for the genre that have yet to be fully explored, and which shocked the blues world with his blown speaker voice and off-kilter guitar leads. Comparing that recording to this new one, you’ll hear that Bell’s voice has mellowed over the years, and that’s not a bad thing. He’s developed a rich baritone that includes on occasion a surprisingly supple vibrato. His guitar style is reminiscent of the late Albert Collins; it has plenty of speed, but what grabs you is the bracing, “icy” tone and attack. Listening to the long, extended single notes to begin a solo on “Directly From My Heart To You” demonstrates how fully Bell has understood, internalized, and executes deep blues.
Add to the equation no-frills production work from Matthew Skoller, who contributes some nasty harmonica on two tracks, a harp cameo from old Son of Blues cohort Billy Branch, well-placed backing vocals (including from legend Jimmy Johnson), and thoughtfully selected tunes, and you have as good a Chicago blues album as you’ll hear in a long time. As Let’s Talk About Love is the inaugural release of Bell’s own Aria B.G. label, we can hope that we won’t have to wait as long next time for more blues from this giant of the form.
http://www.lurrie.com" target="page 1">www.lurrie.com
Buy this CD NOW:
Your purchase through the Amazon.com links at the end of each review, or by simply clicking on this banner (below)
to order this or many other products from Amazon, helps to support this website as well as the featured blues artist.
"This review is copyright © by the writer and Blues On Stage: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without permission."
Copyright reuse notice: If you would like to reprint or use this review please include the above copyright notice, contained within the quotation marks, PLUS this statement: "Used with permission." Then send an email to Ray at: firstname.lastname@example.org indicating how you are using the review or the website page address it will be appearing on. Thanks!
Click on this banner to get you new low percent credit card:
THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT! 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:
CLICK HERE for Web Design SPECIAL, get your own website for just $75.
The most affordable web hosting and design services available. Click Here
to 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 of your CD to:
Blues On Stage
PO Box 582983
Minneapolis, MN 55458-2983
E-mail Ray Stiles with any questions.