Self-taught guitar and harmonica player and Bessemer, Ala. native, Louisiana Red, 67, (a.k.a. Iverson Minter, Playboy Fuller, Rocky Fuller, Guitar Red and Elmore James Jr.) started imitating his idols (Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Hopkins, Earl Hooker, Elmore James, Jimmy Reed, Little Walter) before developing a more personal, instinctive style. Quickly, he showed a rare talent to build and write sarcastic stories well served by his scorched voice, stories often autobiographical ("Red's Vision," Starving in Detroit"). He is a specialist of introverted, intense performance; living his sad stories again and crying in true despair over emotionally charged guitar licks, well served by his great slide playing. His latest effort reveals music in the vein of Guitar Slim and Fred McDowell. Some of his blues are happy, though, and his heavily rhythmic style does wonders.
Chosen to make appearances on the CD by Earwig Chief Executive Office Michael Robert Frank (who handles the writing of the liner notes) was Willie "Big Eyes" Smith (on harmonica and shout on the tender "Too Poor To Die"), Willie Kent (bass), Allen Batts (electric piano), Dave Jefferson (drums) and Brian Bisesi (rhythm guitar and second lead guitar). Although these musicians had never played or even jammed together before their gathering to make this CD, their deep experience in the Chicago and Mississippi Delta blues traditions gave hint that they would get along just fine with Red. And throughout the almost 57-minute release from Red and company they accomplish that feat.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Matt Alcott, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.