"Blues Across America: The Los Angeles Scene"
by Dick Houff
Review date: September 2000
1999 KBA Award Winner|
Achievement for Blues on the Internet
Presented by the Blues Foundation
Since the ‘40s, blues has been alive and well in California. Normally, when we think of jump and swing blues ala Pee Wee Crayton, T-Bone Walker, and Lowell Fulsom, our vision faces west. However, the influence of the Mississippi Delta and the Chi Town sound can be found here as
well. From Smoky Wilson’s club to the old (now defunct) Golden Bear club, you could pick up the sounds and blends from all over the country. In my younger days, I relocated to L.A. and the Bear was one of my favorite clubs to play. One particular thrill was opening for Paul
Butterfield, and watching his band blow the crowd apart! Equally thrilling, is this new package from Cannonball Records. Joe Houston is a household name on the Southern California scene. Joe’s is a hot show, and he’s been doing it since the early fifties. If you listen to the
mid-fifties rock from the West Coast, then I’m sure you heard Joe’s sax and powerful vocals. The music crossed over well at house parties, spilling over into the clubs. The three tracks from this session capture the spirit of what it’s all about: "If You See My Baby," "Sweet Home Chicago," and "All I Need Is You." Johnny Dyer landed in L.A. via Mississippi, and took up with George "Harmonica" Smith—one of the truly great harp players in the business. Dyer’s harp work is an
attention-getter, and his vocals are as strong as ever. He’s a natural choice in the studio, and for good reason. Checkout the three little jewels from this session, and I’m sure you’ll agree. Finis Tasby has worked with many of our top performers over the years. He also fronted the Dallas-based Thunderbirds during the ‘60s. Primarily, a bass player, and now a singer, his debut album with Evidence Records: "Jump, Children!" showcased his singing abilities. A number of years ago, a
record producer told Finis that he couldn’t sing. Unfortunately, Tasby took his word and the public was robbed—his voice was/and is his calling! All I can say about Kirk "Eli" Fletcher is this: Look out! What a discovery; this young guitar slinger is going places—worth the price of the CD! Highly recommended from me to you.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Dick Houff, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.
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