Sunday, May 20, 2012

Roy Gaines Is A Bluesman For Life

Another of my reviews from late 1998 that I wrote for the DC Blues Calendar, the DC Blues Society I then edited. Roy Gaines’ Bluesman For Life certainly played a part in reestablishing the veteran performer’s career and has been followed by a number of impressive recordings that I have previously posted. I do not recall if I received this for review or purchased it.

One of the best recent JSP releases is by guitarist Roy Gaines. Gaines, who as a teenager was battling T-Bone Walker and Gatemouth Brown in Houston clubs has been playing on the R&B circuit with all of the legends, including stints with Bobby Bland, Roy Milton, and the Crusaders. JSP has just issued his latest album, Bluesman For Life, and it is the best album of the blues guitar superman (to quote Real Blues editor and publisher Andy Grigg) this writer has heard.

T-Bone Walker is probably the strongest influence on Gaines, but his attack also owes as much to Gatemouth Brown and Brown’s musical disciples. His guitar playing sizzles and is full of imaginative twists and turns, while on a number of tracks his vocals suggest Long John Hunter. Whether singing about his devotion to blues on the title track (I’m not going to sell out, I’ll be a bluesman for life), or reworking Guitar Slim Something to Remember You By on You Went Back on Your Word, Gaines delivers his vocals with almost as much gusto as his fretwork here. He can go down in the alley on It’s Midnight Baby, while Roy Jumps the Gator is a hot guitar showcase modeled after one of T-Bone’s instrumentals.

This is another stunning release on an ever increasing important British label.

Here is Roy Gaines in performance.

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