EB Rating - 4.5
- A String To Your Heart
- My Baby's Gone
- Gambler's Blues
- Walkin' Through The Park
- I've Got a Problem
- Rocking Daddy
- Little Rain
- I Need You So
- Easy Baby
- That's What Love Will Make You Do
- That's All I Need
- Woke Up This Morning
- Get Your Money Where You Spend Your Time
It's not very often a traditional bluesman gets my attention. When it does happen I like to get the word out quickly
as a form of damage control regarding my often accused narrow-sightedness towards flashy players with nimble fingers.
I'm admittedly not a big fan of traditional blues, preferring instead the guitar-driven energy of more contemporary styles. However,
beating all the odds, this CD works for me. There's just enough guitar to keep me interested, the vocals are good, and the song selection is very strong.
Chicago based John Primer is a true traditional bluesman playing in the Chicago Electric style.
He stays away entirely from the blues-rock sound, and his style is not as hard as someone like Smokey Wilson, but he does play strong blues guitar.
John learned his chops playing as sideman for Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, and Magic Slim.
John also sings lead, and his vocals are capable and well suited to the blues. The band is the basic three piece arrangement of guitar, bass and drums.
The CD was recorded live at the Zoo Bar in Lincoln, Nebraska, and I have to say it's not the most animated live CD I've ever heard. You can easily forget
you're listening to a live CD. On the plus side, the audio is decent and has a nice raw quality too it.
Primer runs through a set of primarily classic cover tunes, paying tribute to many of the pioneers of electric blues, including B.B. King,
Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf and Magic Sam. "My Baby's Gone" is the sole Primer original. There honestly is not a single bad cut on
the entire CD. While definitely not animated, John's vocals and guitar playing are heavy with emotion and feeling.
The mood of the CD is on the laid-back side, yet manages to avoid the dreaded "mellow" I often attribute to traditional blues.
Now, before all you traditional blues fans fire up the flame throwers, I'm not implying that all traditional blues are mellow, or even that mellow itself is a bad thing.
Mellow is just a term I use to categorize blues that's too soft for me.
The war over the boundries of what is blues and what is not will likely rage on for a long, long time.
There's a famous saying, "opinions are like a-------, everybody has one" (email me if you need help with the blanks [g]).
But folks I think we might all be able to agree on this one. This is Electric Blues.