Unlike his mentors, who escaped the South in the 1930s and 1940s to escape racism and crushing poverty, Johnny Burgin (who's white) originally came to town to attend the University of Chicago. A Tail Dragger show on the West Side, however, convinced him that living the blues was the life for him. Burgin has been serving his blues apprenticeship ever since, playing with the likes of Pinetop Perkins, Billy Boy Arnold, Jimmy Burns and Jimmie Lee Robinson.
This is Burgin's second release for Delmark and while his first, "Straight Out of Chicago," partly featured veteran musicians Tail Dragger, Sam Lay and Robert Plunkett, "Man's Temptation" features no guest singers at all. Burgin and the band are sending out the signal that they can stand on their own. His current recording and touring band is comprised of Burgin, guitar and vocals; Kenny Smith on drums (son of Muddy Water's drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith), Sho Komiya on bass, and harp player Martin Lang. The best cut is the CDs closer, "Tomorrow Night," which reminds one of the music played by the lounge acts of the 1920-40s.
This review is copyright © 2000 by Matt Alcott, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.