Sunday, April 07, 2013

Lucky Peterson Band Featuring Tamara Peterson Live At The 55 Arts Club

Lucky Peterson, if not for some personal issues, would be among the leading acts in the blues and funk world. Despite producing a number of albums for Verve/Gitanes and Blue Thumb that are amongst the finest contemporary blues (as opposed to blues-rock) recordings of the past couple decades, his star has not burned as brightly as his talent may have warranted in the United States. Reports are that he apparently has put his house in order with the help of his wife Tamara and busy performing again.

A real pleasant surprise is a new DVD set on BlackbirdMusic/ Soulfood by The Lucky Peterson Band Featuring Tamara Peterson Live At The 55 Arts Club. Recorded at the Berlin, Germany venue, this is a 3 DVD/ 2 CD package with 2 DVDs capturing Lucky’s 2 full sets with Tamara joining midway through the performances with a third DVD providing guitarist Shawn Kellerman’s opening numbers for the two sets along with some behind the scenes of Lucky and band, a brief clip of a rehearsal of a number and an interview with Lucky and Tamara. The music of the 2 DVDs of Lucky and Tamara in performance is also on the two CDs in this set.

Lucky’s Band includes the afore-mentioned Shawn Kellerman on guitar, Tim Waites on bass and Raul Valdes on drums. Its a hard-rocking, tight band which does a terrific job and backing Lucky and Tamara, with Lucky playing both the Hammond B-3 and some guitar, while Kellerman when featured on guitar adding his own blistering attack. Lucky is in good voice and his wife Tamara (who went to High School in Houston with Roy Hargrove, Erykah Badu and Norah Jones) is a terrific singer. 

The material ranges from Lucky’s reworking of blues classics such as You Shook Me, I’m Ready, and Who’s Been Talking, along with Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson’s Ta’ Ta’ You. He takes out the slide for Dust My Broom, while getting really greasy on the B-3 on I’m Back Again, as well as Rico McFarland’s Giving Me The Blues. Tamara shows how expressive a singer she is on the cover of Prince’s Kiss, along with originals like I Don’t Like You But I Love You, and Last Night You Left. She is a powerful, yet nuanced singer who certainly complements Lucky. 

I found the video well done and capturing the performing personalities of Lucky and his band quite well. I was amused to see how fierce Kellerman appears backing Lucky as I knew the Canadian Kellerman when he was playing with harmonica player, Jordan Patterson in the Washington DC area in the nineties. He has spent time with Bobby Rush as well and his fiery playing may be on the rock vein at times, but he never gets boring or overbearing. 

In the bonus CD Lucky talks about how he thinks that this particular group may be the one to take him to the next level. Based on the performances here on Live At The 55 Arts Club, and given the stability that Tamara and their faith have apparently given him, one should not be surprised if he doesn’t take it to the next level. There is some terrific music to be seen and heard here.

My review copy was received from a publicist. Lucky is appearing at the Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival near Annapolis MD in May.  It was on the strength of this Live DVD/CD package that I decided to attend this festival so I could see him.  Here is a little clip that was posted on youtube to promote Live At The 55 Arts Club.

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