Saturday, May 19, 2012

Little Freddie King Still Chasing the Blues

A icon of the New Orleans music scene, Little Freddie King has a new CD on the MadeWright Records label, Chasing the Blues. There is nothing fancy about his blues. There is a bit the swamp blues of such folks as Lightnin’ Slim, Lonesome Sundown, Lazy Lester, Clarence Edwards, with some of the North Mississippi Hill Country blues of R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. His vocals and guitar as supported by drummer “Wacko” Wade Wright, bass guitarist Anthony “Sheets” Anderson, the harmonica of Lewis diTullio, Jr. and an uncredited pianist. They provide simple, direct backing which suits King well.

The influence of the swamp blues opening Born Dead, with its stark lyrics about hard times growing up in Mississippi, while the feel of Crackho Flo, with its simple lyrics, is more in the vein of some of the somber slow drag recordings of Junior Kimbrough. An uncredited pianist is added to Louisiana Train Wreck, with a simple Hill Country styled groove with King rapping the blues here. Got Tha Blues On My Back is another swamp blues with King’s guitar bursts complemented by as he sings about having the blues in a great big cotton sack.

Better is Pocket Full of Money, which adapts the melody of Slim Harpo’s I’m a King Bee, as he tells his women he has plenty of money and let him come inside. Back To New Orleans takes us back down in the alley.” An easy going instrumental, Little Freddie’s Shuffle has the harmonica more prominent. Better is the slow moody instrumental, Night Time in Treme. In contrast, another instrumental “Bywater Crawl” leaves little impression on the listener.

Little Freddie King is a wonderful entertaining performer who perhaps is limited as a guitarist and songwriter. He still has a way of delivering a performance. Chasing The Blues is not an essential blues recording but it has atmospheric and entertaining music.

I purchased this. Here is Little Freddie King helping the Louisiana Music Factory celebrate its 20th Anniversary. That is poet, activist and music historian John Sinclair introducing him.

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