Willie Buck is a Mississippi-born, Chicago resident since the 1950s who is a solid Chicago blues singer who has been part of that City’s club scene for decades. In addition to singles issued over time, he had an album “The Life I Love,” recorded in 1982 and issued on vinyl in 1983 that Delmark has just made available supplemented by some live recordings from a couple years later. For the studio session he brought together some of the best Chicago blues players still living, including Louis Myers and John Primer on guitar, Little Mac Simmons and Dimestore Fred on harmonica, Big Moose Walker on piano and Dave Myers on bass for some classic Chicago blues in the vein of Muddy Waters and Junior Wells. Muddy is most evident as an influence based on Buck’s songs and vocal style.
This is a solid set of Chicago blues and one can imagine how entertaining Buck is in a club setting. Nothing musically original perhaps, but he sings with heart and the band just lays out the real deal as he opens with Muddy’s “She’s All Right,” followed by Buck’s original, “How Can I Be Nice To You,” which has a melody very similar to Muddy’s recording “Just to Be With You,” as Myers and Primer lay some nice single note runs and Walker pounds out some tough piano sounds. I guess that is the young Primer who is responsible for the fine guitar solo on B.B. King’s “I Got a Right To Love My Baby,” while Walker lays the foundation and holds things together on another Buck original “There’s a Time.” “Sweet Sixteen,” is credited as if it was the Big Joe Turner tune, but sounds like a slowed down rendition of the Chuck Berry rocker while the band turns in a terrific reworking of Little Walter’s ”Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” There is also a lively rendition of Jimmy Reed’s “Found My baby Gone,” and the live recordings of “Don’t Go No Further,” and “Sugar Sweet.” The result is over an hour of strong traditionally rooted Chicago blues that one hears played so well less frequently nearly three decades later. Recommended.
For purposes of FTC regulations, the review copy was supplied by Delmark Records.
Here is a video from you tube of Willie Buck singing a Muddy Waters song.