Haynesville, LA. native Johnny Clyde Copeland's (died July 3, 1997 in New York, N.Y.) career was marked by joyous, high energy performances, which earned him the nickname the "Texas Twister," and a restless musical spirit, which led him to record with everyone from West African musicians to jazz explorers like Byard Lancaster, Arthur Blythe and Randy Weston and fellow guitar slingers Albert Collins and Robert Cray. Though Copeland began recording as early as 1958, his career didn't really start moving until 1981, when the by-then-New York-based Texas native began recording for Rounder. Over the next 15 years he cut a series of fine albums featuring his superb songwriting, deep soul singing and melodic, in-the-groove guitar playing.
He began suffering from heart problems in 1994 and continued performing and even recording, even as he underwent numerous surgeries, first having a LVAD, a mechanical heart of sorts, installed, and later undergoing a heart transplant. He seemed to make a remarkable recovery from that operation, resumed touring, but died during follow-up surgery some seven months later.
His use of African polyrhythms, which began with the album "Bringin' It All Home," is present once again on this continuation of the Bullseye Blues Basic CD series. One of the best cuts is a tune titled "Don't Stop By the Creek, Son" with Stevie Ray Vaughan joining the party and bringing along his guitar to boot. Both left us great music to listen too, and both died way too damn young.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Matt Alcott, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.