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Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame 2009 "Supportive of the Blues"|
The Blues Foundation's 1999 "Keeping the Blues Alive Award"
Never Slow Down
(Bong Load, 2007)
Review Date: November 2009
by Norman Darwen
Back in the sixties The Carter Brothers out of Alabama recorded some excellent BB King styled blues 45s – but with a slightly more down-home and conversely also a soulful twist – for Stan Lewis’s Jewel label out of Shreveport, Louisiana The band split up in 1967 (reputedly when two of the brothers were drafted, but youngest sibling Roman has continued his solo musical career right up until the present day – and this set most certainly has a contemporary flavour to it, drawing on the work of in-demand and highly-rated producer/ composer/ multi-instrumentalist Tom Rothrock, who originally intended to use the ideas behind this collection of songs for his own solo album. What Roman and his cohorts have produced is an updated version of the Mississippi sound, raw, loud, exciting, and drawing from the same well as some of the Fat Possum artists for inspiration. Even Cedric Burnside turns up on drums on one track (the hip-hop inflected ‘You’d Betta Listen’); on another (‘W/O Love’) there is a rap artist alongside a Canned Heat styled boogie guitar. With exception of two instrumentals though, the constant throughout the album is Roman’s soulful voice, which still retains that tough, down-home tinge. The blues must evolve to avoid becoming a museum piece and Roman’s direction keeps the best of the old in a new, successful setting.
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