Arthur Adams is one of those guns that lay in the weeds, and when the time is right—smack, he’s got you cornered. I guess that’s how I’d describe his guitar; this guy can take you on a smooth journey or via warp speed. Arthur’s vocals are pure and soulful—of course, that doesn’t surprise me. He started singing at the age of six, and didn’t pick up guitar until his teens. Born in Tennessee, he got his start in gospel; paying close attention to the blues coming in over the airways: Muddy Waters, Elmore James, and B.B. King to name but a few. However, Arthur remained true to his gospel roots, and started a group with his cousins called the Gospel Travelers. The group eventually parted ways when Adams decided to move to Nashville, where he attended Tennessee State University. During this time period (1959), Arthur started playing blues gigs and was eventually hired by sax man, Jimmy Beck as a backup to Vee-Jay recording artist Gene Allison. While touring, Allison left the group in Dallas. A devastating move for most seasoned band members. The usual course of action that follows is that musicians split, and head to the four corners looking for new gigs. Not so with Adams; he stayed in Dallas from 1959 to 1964, and cut five singles while working the clubs. A pivotal move to Los Angeles, proved to be a very lucrative choice for Adams. Not only was he making a name for himself in the clubs, but as a much coveted studio musician as well. He contributed to movies and soundtracks, and played on hundreds of sessions from Lou Rawls to Henry Mancini. During the 70s, Arthur recorded four albums. By then, a disco infested hell along with pointless musical journeys took hold of the nation. Growing tired of session work in the 80s, Arthur signed on as Nina Simone’s bass player during a European tour. In 87, Adams returned to the blues, playing countless club gigs. He also played rhythm guitar on a B.B. King engagement, and wrote two songs for King’s 1991 MCA album: There Is Always One More Time. Now, with Back On Track, Arthur’s debut album on Blind Pig Records; you can sit back or move—this cat has something for everybody! And B.B. even drops by for two of the tracks: Get You Next To Me, and The Long Haul. Adams wrote eight out of the eleven tracks for this outing, and my personal favorites (besides the B.B. King duets) are track #1: Back On Track, #3 Who Does She Think She Is, #10 Honda Betty, and #11 Backup Man. Take this one home and "Shake Those Wicked Knees!" Highly recommended.
This review is copyright © 1999 by Dick Houff, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.