Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Elvin Bishop Raises Hell With Blues Revue

As part of participating on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise, Elvin Bishop, led the Raisin’ Hell Revue. This writer suspects this was modeled on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Revue that Tommy Castro fronted and featured several artists in addition to Castro and enabled greater exposure for some of what were perhaps lesser known acts to the Blues Cruisers. Delta Groove has just issued Elvin Bishop’s Raisin’ Hell Revue, from performances on the Cruise.

In addition to Bishop, the performances on this showcase vocalist Finis Tasby: vocalist and harp player, John Nemeth; saxophonist and vocalist Terry Hanck; guitarist Kid Andersen, and Bishop’s fine band that included Ruth Davies (some may remember from Charles Brown’s Band) on bass, drummer Bobby Cochran and the varied keyboards of Steve Willis.

Thirteen tunes with almost an hour of music opens with a good-natured Bishop take on Lazy Bill Lucas’
Callin’ All Cows with hot guitar from Andersen and accordion from Willis. It is followed by the gravelly vocals of Tasby on B.B. King’s Whole Lotta Lovin’ as Anderson and Bishop blaze away. Nemeth takes the vocal mike as Bishop reprises his big hit, Fooled Around And Fell In Love. What the Hell Is Goin’ On, has Bishop spin a topical lyric to a Funky Chicago Blues groove as Kid Andersen taking the first guitar solo, while Nemeth revives Nappy Brown’s Night Time Is the Right Time, based on Ray Charles recording, with Nemeth playing harp as well as singing. It is followed by Tasby, who reworks Jimmy Reed’s Down in Virginia.

Saxophonist Hanck handles the fine vocal on
Cryin’ Fool, a terrific New Orleans -Swamp Pop styled number with nice guitar that evokes Robert Ward and Lonnie Mack. There is choice tenor sax solo from Hanck on Tasby’s rendition of River’s Invitation. Bishop does a nice rendition of Albert Collins’ Dyin’ Flu, while recalling the late Master of Telecaster. Hank Ballard’s rocking Tore Up Over You, is revived with a terrific Nemeth vocal while Tasby gets to us with It Hurts Me Too, with Bishop on slide.

Nemeth leads everybody on the closing
Bye Bye Baby, concluding a most entertaining revue of blues and rhythm songs. The material does include some familiar songs but mostly some rarely performed songs, the level of the performances is high, and the recording quality is fine. Recommended.

A review copy was provided by a publicist.

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