Monday, July 22, 2013

Lurrie Bell Has The Blues In His Soul

Lurrie Bell’s latest album Blues In My Soul marks his return to Delmark with whom he made some of his finest recordings. His last two recordings on Aria displayed a bit of his musical range while the present set is a set devoted to traditional Chicago blues. On this he is joined by Roosevelt Purifoy on keyboards; Melvin Smith on bass; Willie Hayes on drums and Matt Skoller on harmonica with a couple selections featuring horns. The 14 songs include three originals and eleven interpretations of classic blues recordings associated with T-Bone Walker, Jimmy Rogers, Junior Wells, Otis Rush and others, produced by Dick Shurman for some straight Chicago blues.

Bell is an appealing, if not compelling singer with his unforced, heartfelt grainy vocals, with his imaginative, quirky guitar playing adding unexpected twists and delights to his music. My use of the word interpretation as opposed to cover is deliberate, because Bell’s renditions of T-Bone Walker’s Hey Hey Baby, or Jimmy Rogers’ Going Away Baby are fresh re-workings of the source recordings. Bell’s originals include the title song where he sings about liking what he is doing cause he feels the blues deep in soul with a backing that might suggest As the Years Go Passing By, or Somebody Loan Me a Dime. Purifoy’s organ is wonderful here while he is equally fine with the rollicking piano on Lurrie’s rendition of Big Bill Broonzy’s I Feel So Good, with nice harp from Skoller to go with Bell’s snap crackle and pop guitar here. 

‘Bout the Break of Day, Junior Wells rendition of Early in the Morning, is done in a gut-bucket fashion with Bell’s restrained fire adding to this marvelous version. One of Bell’s other originals, 24 Hour Blues, is a relaxed shuffle done as a tribute to his friend Magic Slim, who had passed earlier that day. There is a briskly tempoed shuffle rendition of I Just Keep Loving Her, one of Little Walter’s early recordings with crisp, rocking breaks from Skoller and Purifoy in addition to Bell. 

Bell closes this disc out with a fine rendition of Otis Spann’s The Blues Never Die, again showcasing not simply Bell (with a superb solo), but the band as well. The result is another one of the very solid blues performances on Blues In My Soul.

I received my review copy from Delmark. Here is a youtube clip with the audio of the title track. Now go purchase or download this CD. :)

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