Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Linsey Alexander - Come Back Baby

I found Linsey Alexander’s first Delmark album, “Been There Done That” to be “the most impressive blues recording which is one of the finer blues albums I have heard this year (2012).” Now Delmark has issued his follow-up “Come Back Baby!” which has the singer and guitarist joined by a band that includes guitarist Breezy Rodio; keyboards from Roosevelt Purifoy, bassist Greg McDaniel and drummer Pooky Styx with Bill McFarland leading a horn section and Billy Branch contributing harmonica to three selections.

The album opens with “Little Bit of Soap,” one of two songs Alexander did not write. This is a terrific performance as he sings about washing this women out of his life with a great vocal and guitar that brings to mind seventies B.B. King. The album is at its best with his soulful vocals and clever lyrics. The playing behind him is strong and the one criticism I have on several selections would be the buzzsaw guitar tone on several selections including that heard on the intense original “I Got A Woman.” Perhaps the tone is supposed to match the intensity of his vocal her as he tears into the lyric of his woman being more woman than he will every need. The tone detracts from fully enjoying the fiery solo here. This tone is also employed on the reworking of “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” that provides a new arrangement for the Otis Rush classic recording. An excellent slow blues “Too Old To Be A New Fool” showcases some searing guitar with a cleaner tone along with superb chromatic harmonica from Branch.

Alexander’s wit is displayed on the shuffle “Call My Wife,” on which he wants his wife to open the door for poor Linsey, who is so drunk he lost he car and car keys. Billy Branch channels Rice Miller mixed with Walter Horton with some exquisite harmonica on this. Alexander is also known as “The Hootchie Man” as reflected in his funky dance number “Booty Call.” “Things Done Changed” has a serious lyric as Alexander as recalls Jim Crow days, segregated bus stations and buses and the like, set against horn riffs and a solid electric piano solo by the remarkable Purifoy (he also played a strong solo on “Booze and Blues’), followed by strong, stinging guitar.

Despite this writer's reservations on the guitar tone on several tracks (and others will disagree), “Come Back Baby" is a strongly performed recording that exhibits plenty of fire from Alexander with his fervent singing and searing guitar.

I received my review copy copy from Delmark Records. Here is the opening “Little Bit of Soap.”

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