Monday, May 26, 2008

Review: Bernie Pearl "Old School Blues"

I have to thank my friend Chris Puyear for tipping me onto Bernie Pearl. Chris is a DJ at KOPN in Columbia MO--he does the Blues on Broadway show on Saturday nights. He played this great version of a song--"Automobile Blues" which was originally done by Lightnin' Hopkins. l have heard everybody do this song, but I had never heard it so cool and soulful. I called Chris while he was on the air and asked him "Who was that?" We ended up talking for a while & it was Bernie Pearl. Bernie is not a kid--he has been playing guitar in the Los Angeles area since the 50s. He learned to play hanging out in his brother's club, learning from the greats as they travelled thru--from Mance Lipscomb, Lightnin' Hopkins, Brownie McGhee. Mr Pearl is VERY excellent on both acoustic and electric guitars. He describes this set "Old School Blues" as typical of his live shows recorded live in the studio. There is one disc of acoustic and one disc of electric, and they were recorded earlier this year. By now I hope i have dropped enough hints to get you excited--you need to hear this guy play the blues. The acoustic disc is especially great--Bernie plays "Blues in a Bottle" and "Goin' Down Slow" and "Country Sugar Mama" and "Pawnshop Blues" and they're all great. I think the only acoustic guitar player that compares is the great Doc Watson. This is the way Doc Watson would play blues if he played blues. On the electric disc Pearl plays "Cherry Ball' and the aforementioned "Automobile Blues" and "Crosscut Saw and "Drivin' Wheel" and a bunch of others. It is terrific blues music played with soul and taste and command. This is a worthy disc for every blues-lover's library. You can find out more about Bernie Pearl, and you can buy his cds, at his website:

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