Steve Freund has gathered an eclectic bunch of musicians for his latest Delmark and Dave Specter produced release. Such legendary cats as Boz Skaggs, Kim Wilson (Fabulous Thunderbirds) and David Maxwell (Freddie King, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and James Cotton) make beautiful contributions to this fine Chicago-style blues album.
Indeed the blues put Freund on the road beginning in 1974, which is when he and his street friend Paul Cooper decided to make their pilgrimage to the Windy City in their youthful quest to experience the music firsthand that they so dearly loved. A stop by Howlin' Wolf's saxophone player Eddie Shaw's old 1815 club resulted in a meeting with the Wolf Gang band including Hubert Sumlin as well as Detroit Jr., Shorty Gilbert and Chico Chism.
During the 20+ years that Freund lived in Chicago, he had the opportunity to play guitar and bass with the whose's who of Chicago's postwar musicians including long stints with Big Walter Horton and Floyd Jones as well as tours with Luther Allison and Koko Taylor.
Within the context of material featured here, all of Freund's various influences come shining through. There's a little bit of Earl Hooker, Magic Sam, Otis Rush (on "Working Man"), Lee Jackson (whom he pays homage to on the swinging "Mr. Jackson's Boogie"), Albert and Riley "B.B." King ("Please Love Me," "Cool Dream") and Sunnyland Slim ("Everytime I Get to Drinkin'").
Maxwell delivers a beautifully moving and stripped down rendition of the classic "Pallet On the Floor," which sounds eerily close in both its arrangement and passion of the version recorded by pianist Jimmy Yancey backing his wife Momma flavored to perfection with guitarist Eddie Lang's influence.
4121 North Rockwell, Chicago, Ill., 60618
This review is copyright © 2000 by Matt Alcott, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.