Monday, February 15, 2010

"Chicago Blues A Living History"

This 2 disc set was released in April 2009 and it is fabulous. Fabulous. I can understand that a lot of the focus has gone to the featured artists on this set--Billy Boy Arnold, John Primer, Billy Branch and Lurrie Bell--and that is as it should be, because those guys truly bring the Chicago Blues history to living and breathing LIFE. But if I might make this comparison, the Living History Band on this set (Matthew Skoller on harp, Billy Flynn on guitar, Johnny Iguana on keyboards, Felton Crews on bass, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith on drums) should get some of the credit too. They create a sound, a feel, a pocket that seems deeper than deep. They surround the featured artists with such sensational support that everybody had to raise their game to the a new level. These guys may end up doing for Chicago Blues what the Mannish Boys have done for West Coast blues. I have played this set non-stop in the house, in the car, always for nearly a week, and it still knocks me out. The last blues cd that had this kind of effect on me was "Breakin' It Up Breakin' It Down" with Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter and James Cotton. Like that disc "Chicago Blues A Living History" is a perfect tool for evangelizing people to the blues, too. Just play the opening of Howlin Wolf's "Moanin' At Midnight"--when John Primer hits that first vocal line he actually stops TIME. There are moments exactly like that on every song here. I wish I had bought this set months ago. If you haven't got your copy yet, check out this list of awards.

Most recent awards and nominations:

Grammy nomination:

Best Traditional Blues Album 2010

Best Traditional Blues Album 2009

Blues Music Award nomination:

Best Album 2009

Best Traditional Album 2009

Blues Blast Award:

Winner, Best Traditional Album 2009

L'Académie du Jazz de France:

Winner, Best Blues Album 2009

Now go buy it at

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