Chicago Blues Reunion
CD/DVD Label: Out The Box Records
The Chicago Blues Reunion wants to make sure you are Buried Alive In The Blues when you attend one their concerts. Not just anyone can pull off something so powerful yet this band of wily veterans makes it look like a picnic. With heavy hitters like Barry Goldberg, Harvey Mandel, Nick Gravenites, Tracy Nelson, Sam Lay, and others filling out the lineup of this blues-rock gathering, you get to hear some of the best live music you ever gave your ears a chance to hear.
This CD offers 14 excellent tracks that typify the blues-rock sound. There are three tracks in particular that blew me away. "GM Boogie" is an amazing performance with Goldberg pumping out some phenomenal sounds for the Hammond B3 and Mandel yankin' those strings as if he came out his mama with a guitar in his hand. It is definitely a blues-rock boogie to remember. "New Truck" with Tracy Nelson's pipes is a real special tune; it is a real fun listen. The words and music become one with her splendid vocal style and Mandel's guitar cuts like a brand new box of razor blades. Then the tour de force is Mandel's classic rendition of "Snake." I heard his studio version of this tune but this live cut outdistances just about anything I have heard him perform, whew! The slide playing is amazing and he gets some cool fuzz tones and feedback as well.
Then you get double the pleasure double the fun with a DVD that interviews band members and legends such a B.B. King, who reminisces about how his guitar Lucille got her name. Buddy Guy talks about the old days when all the white boys would show up, like Bloomfield and Butterfield, at the old all black nightclubs on the east side of Chicago. Guy said when they walked in everyone thought they were the cops because they were the only white cats in the entire joint but once everyone realized who they were after a while people laughed and accepted them as one of their own. They had to prove themselves first performing with the already established black artists like Guy. I guess they cut the mustard as shortly thereafter the clubs began to integrate and the black musicians found a white audience that did not know they existed. I love the old stories about the blues, they are so fascinating and everyone is so down to earth, you know, the real deal, none if this "I'm a star" crap.
A beautifully illustrated booklet also accompanies the set with black & white and color photos of all the artists involved with this project including the rising stars of the day such as Dylan and Bloomfield. I found the inclusion of the 60s poster art very interesting as well. The entire album kicks some major blues rockin' ass no doubt. It does not get more vital and energized than this. Do not miss this heapin' helpin' of da blues for the world.