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Lil' Ed And The Blues Imperials
@ Famous Dave's, June 19, 1998
by Jimi "Prime Time" Smith

Lil' Ed
Famous Dave's, 6/19/98
Photo © 1998 by Steve Felling. All rights reserved
I have always known of Lil' Ed from Chicago. I never had a chance to hang out with him because we were playing so much. Our paths would cross occassionally, but we never had a chance to see each other. Last year I had a chance to play with him on the Norwegian Cruise Lines Blues Cruise. I found out then his uncle was J. B. Hutto. Now he was a very famous blues slide guitarist and singer. He still has many albums out now on CD.

J. B. Hutto was the lead guitarist for my mother, Johnnie Mae. My mother was one of the first female blues drummers around. They played at a club called the Globe Trotters Lounge, so that's what they called the band - The Globetrotters. And that is the name that wound up on her Drums. Little Eds uncle, J. B. Hutto was on guitar, and Earing George, who was known as Harmonica Smith, was the band. I was telling Lil' Ed how my mom has this picture of the band. Lil' Ed told me he has been following in his uncles foot steps. He asked me to please mention his uncle because he made a promise to his uncle to keep his music alive, and I could hear that this night at Famous Dave's. You can see it in his actions and the way he plays and the style of guitar and music he is doing. Lil' Ed plays guitar a lot like his famous uncle but, with a lot more fire.

All his tunes were great. He did a lot of old blues standards. Ed plays as close to the roots as you can get. He did tunes like Rock Me Baby, Sweet Home Chicago, Woke Up This Morning, and Elmore James Tune Dust My Broom. He also did tunes off of his CDs, Rough Housing and What You See Is What You Get.

Lil' Ed puts on an electrifying show. He does the walk through the audience with the guitar. I found myself laughing at him because the guy is so animated at times. He does these crazy facial expressions. You can see he feels every thing he is playing . I got a really great feeling when he said this next song is for his friend Jimi. Which was "Got My Mojo Working." That's the kind of guy he is though. He told me after the show that ever since he was a little kid he's always been into the Blues, and how his uncle influenced him. So I am happy to mention this for him. Lil' Ed plays old standard blues style slide - kind of Delta style - and back to the roots, but electric. I'd compare him to Robert Junior Lockwood, or Robert Nighthawk.

I really dug James "Pookey" Young, Lil' Ed's baby brother, on bass. The man just feels it. He is so laid back with his eyes closed . He is just feeling the groove. The rest of the Blues Imperials band was just as tight. Mike Garrett on guitar. He did a fine job with call and response licks and he held his own with no problem. Kelly Littleton on drums gave a solid back beat and kept the groove moving. Lil' Ed is a great performer. His stage presence and his authentic back to the roots slide guitar are well worth seeing .

This review is copyright © 1998 by Jimi "Prime Time" Smith, all rights reserved.

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Copyright © 1998 by Ray M. Stiles
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