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CD Review
Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater
"Cool Blues Walk"
Bullseye Blues & Jazz - 11661-9614-2
By Dave "Doc" Piltz
It has been quite awhile since Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater made a major label record. His latest recording, backed by the Duke Robillard Band is called Cool Blues Walk and cool is a great one word description of the CD. From beginning to end, Cool Blues Walk is an entertaining stroll through the musical world of Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater.

As a contemporary of such blues giants as Magic Sam, Buddy Guy and Otis Rush; Clearwater is included in any discussion about the development of the "West Side Sound" coming out of Chicago in the 1950's. Along with his fine sounding blues guitar, Clearwater has been known to perform a hot "Johnny B. Goode" type rocker in his elaborate Indian headdress, or even a country western tune, mixed with his signature blues sounds.

On Cool Blues Walk, Clearwater is offered fine support from Duke Robillard and his six piece band. The liner notes indicate that Clearwater was playing with Robillard for the very first time and that he was exceptionally happy with the results of their combined efforts. On nine of the eleven songs, Clearwater and Robillard share guitar duties. On two of the eight Clearwater (alias, Eddie Harrington) originals, "Very Good Condition" and "I Love You;" Eddy offers only vocals on the former and vocals/piano on the latter. On the other nine songs Clearwater and Robillard exchange lead and rhythm parts, sharing lead solos on several numbers.

High points of the CD include the title track, "Cool Blues Walk" and the Clearwater penned "Bad Mamma Jamma" and "Boppin' at the Top of the Rock." Another original tune, "Nashville Road," is reminiscent of Johnny Copeland's, "The Grammy Song," from Catch Up With The Blues. Clearwater and Robillard also do a great job on a couple of well-known covers, Willie Dixon's "I Just Want to Make Love to You" and Freddie King's "Sen-Say-Shun." The CD ends with another Clearwater original, "Blues for a Living," which features nice solos by both Eddy (outro) and Duke (intro and middle).

All in all, Cool Blues Walk is great music by a great musician (Eddy Clearwater) with assistance from another great musician (Duke Robillard). Clearwater's twelfth album in the last twenty years and his first in six years is a definite keeper.

This review is copyright © 1998 by Dave "Doc" Piltz, all rights reserved.

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