Friday, January 21, 2011

Buddy Scott & Big Daddy Kinsey Sang Real Deal Blues

Here is a vintage review of albums by Bid Daddy Kinsey and Buddy Scott, who may not be household names, but produced some solid work. I note my comments in the review about Verve issuing this material which was not stuff that would have been the most commercial type of recording to market as ‘blues.’ Scott died not long after his CD was released, while Kinsey (who died in 2001) had a subsequent album on Verve. Thankfully they viewed things in other than strictly commercial terms. My review originally appeared in the August 1994 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 190) when it was still a print publication in Cleveland. Amazon shows the releases below available from other sellers.

Two releases, Buddy Scott’s Bad Avenue and Big Daddy Kinsey’s I Am the Blues, are companions on Verve to Joe Louis Walker’s Blues Survivor. They are both more traditionally oriented than Walker’s album, and Verve’s release of these albums indicates that Verve is not intending to market rock records as contemporary blues. Neither Buddy Scott or Big Daddy Kinsey are household names, nor are they guitar heroes. These are both solid Chicago blues artists who were reared on the music of Sonny Boy Williamson and Muddy Waters, and deliver renditions of the classic blues in a classic Chicago blues fashion.

Verve’s release of Buddy Scott’s Bad Avenue is particularly interesting since Scott is a Chicago club singer who has made few recordings, the most notable ones being as Scotty and the Rib Tips as part of Alligator’s Living Chicago Blues series. The music here is a bit less soul-influenced here than the Alligator recordings. Renditions of Merle Haggard’s Today I Started Loving You Again and Sam Cooke’s Bring It On Home To Me (using the same melody as Charles Brown’s I Want to Go Home), involve a fair amount of testifying. The songs associated with Little Walter, My Babe and Blues With a Feeling, both feature some very fine harp from Billy Branch, and while neither Rock Me or Big Boss Man are particularly novel numbers, the choice of Wake Up Old Lady from the second Sonny Boy Williamson ( going back to an old English ballad), is a refreshing change of pace with the song rearranged as if Howlin’ Wolf was going to sing it, while the traditional Big Fat Woman incorporates B.B. King’s Please Love Me arrangement. In addition to a couple of originals from Scott, the album closes with the fine title track that was penned by the recently deceased Lefty Dizz. Scott is a strong, straightforward singer and effective guitarist although his rhythm guitarist Joe Moss takes the lead on Big Boss Man. In all, a very solid date.

Lester ‘Big Daddy’ Kinsey may be familiar from albums on Rooster Blues and Blind Pig, and as the father of most of the members of the Kinsey Report. I Am the Blues is dedicated to Muddy Waters who is an obvious influence on Kinsey as a singer and as a guitarist. He is backed here by Buddy Guy on the title track and an all star cast including son Donald, Jimmy Rogers, James Cotton, Billy Branch, Pinetop Perkins, Lucky Peterson, Rico McFarland, Ray ‘Killer’ Allison, Calvin Jones and Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith. Included are several titles Waters had axed years ago including Walking Thru the Park (with an explosive Sugar Blue harmonica solo) , Mannish Boy and Got My Mojo Workin’, while renditions of Little Red Rooster, Don’t You Lie To Me and Nine Below Zero are done in similar form. Big Daddy Kinsey contributed three songs, the anti-drug song, Somebody’s Gonna Get Hooked Tonight, Good Mornin’ Mississippi, where he plays slide in a manner that recalls Muddy, and his tribute to the late Albert King, The Queen Without a King, with guitarists Donald Kinsey and Rico McFarland playing in an Albert King style. There is no great surprises here, just a strong session of Chicago blues. Incidentally, Kinsey has toured Europe with Pinetop, Jimmy Rogers, Calvin Jones, Willie Smith, Jerry Portnoy and Luther Johnson, Jr., as part of a Tribute to Muddy Waters, and there is a possibility that this group of artists will tour the US in the spring, 1994.

I do not recall my source of the review copies back in 1993-1994, as to whether it was from Jazz & Blues Report or from Verve directly.

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