Sunday, April 08, 2007

Cleanhead's Blues

Among its recent releases, Delmark has just re-reissued Kidney Stew is Fine by Eddie 'Cleanhead Vinson. Originally issued on the French Black and Blue label, the disc has the shouter-alto saxophonist with an all star band that included Jay McShann on piano, T-Bone Walker on guitar and tenor saxophonist Hal ‘Cornbread’ Singer. Its a good mix of classic songs that Cleanhead made famous like the title track, Somebody’s Sure Got to Go, Juice Head Baby, Big Bill’s Just a Dream and Old Maid Boogie, along with Joe Turner’s Wee Wee Baby, Percy Mayfield’s Please Send Me Someone to Love, and Duke Ellington’s Thing's Ain't What They Used To Be. Vinson is in terrific form both vocally and instrumentally and the band swings wonderfully for a most enjoyable session that is welcome to be readily available.

As a postnote to this review, I note that when I first came across the various Black and Blue releases on vinyl in the 70s and early 80s I generally found the jazz releases (and this was one that was originally more oriented towards jazz audiences) was generally more satsisfying than the blues releases. In part it may have been because the bands were tighter and could handle the material, even if not fresh, with an authority that many of the label's blues releases could not quite achieve without sounding generic.

Incidentally, amazon still (3/23/08) shows the 1994 Delmark CD cover of this release on its website. I corrected this posting on 3/23/08

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