Monday, December 28, 2009
Bernard ALLISON – Storm Of Life 2002
Dynastic bluesman Bernard Allison is a second-generation star now shining in his own right. The guitarist-vocalist son of the late legend Luther Allison paid his early dues leading Koko Taylor's crack Blues Machine band, learned the family business leading his father's electrifying group in Europe, and has now created his own catalog of fine recordings. Storms of Life is the most eclectic and uniformly excellent example yet. After the sizzling solo slide guitar opener "Slip Slidin'," Allison roams wide and free, confidently overlaying his blues personality on material ranging from the reggae-tinged "Just Do Me Any Way You Want" to the R&B title track, which glides over a cushion of keyboards and extra percussion. A bouncy, horn-powered rendition of "Goodbye Little Girl" that recalls Bobby "Blue" Bland provides a fitting conclusion. Allison surprisingly, but effectively, mixes a wide variety of cover material, including everything from ZZ Top's "I Wanna Drive You Home" to Mark Knopfler's "I Think I Love You Too Much" to mentor Johnny Winter's suitably manic "Mean Town Blues." The well-chosen covers, including tunes by Anders Osborne, Leon Russell, and papa Luther, convincingly demonstrate his gifts as an interpreter. By Michael Point.
Once in a great while, I hear a new blues release that recalls the depth and energy of the great electric blues players I grew up listening to, players like Waters, Winter, Clapton, Green, Rush, et al. After listening to this CD for almost two years, I've come to the conclusion that it's the best blues release of 2002. It's got everything a great blues album needs. Allison's voice and guitar work are tasty, gritty, and well-seasoned, evidence of the amount of work and dedication he put into his apprenticeships with Koko Taylor and his father. And the song choices are superb. My favorites are "Fistful of Dirt," a killer rock-steady mid-tempo shuffle with a profound message about living through hard times; "Mean Town Blues," which is ample proof that Allison can lay claim to Johnny Winter's Texas electric slide legacy; and "Snake Bit Again," a remarkable vehicle for Allison's gritty, dead-on singing. There's a lot of redundancy in more recent blues releases, but this album shows Allison is capable of being a truly original talent in this often hackneyed genre. Check it out.
By Randy Blythe.
Bernard Allison- (Vocals, Guitar);
Paul Diethelm- (Guitar);
Ricky Peterson- (Strings, Piano, Organ);
Richard Rosenblatt- (harmonica);
David Eiland- (Sax);
Larry McCabe- (Trombone);
Brian Simmonds, Jim Kogl- (Tenor Sax);
Bruce McCabe- (Piano);
Ron Sutton, Rob Stupka- (Drums);
Chickie Perez- (Percussion);
Kate Wilson, J.D. Steele, Fred Steele- (Background Vocals).
01. Slip Slidin'
02. Storms of Life
03. Down South
04. Just Do Me Any Way You Want
05. I Think I Love You Too Much
06. Mean Town Blues
07. Speed Slide
08. I Wanna Drive You Home
09. Snake Bit Again
10. Reaching Out
11. Fistful of Dirt
12. Help Me Through the Day
13. Goodbye Little Girl