Can't Shake This Feeling
The Mercurial Son, Lurrie Bell has a new recording on Delmark "Cant Shake This Feeling" finding this singular guitarist and singer backed by a first-rate band of Roosevelt Purifoy on keyboards, Matthew Skoller on harmonica, Melvin Smith on bass and Willie Hayes on drums. Produced by Dick Shurman, Lurrie wrote or co-wrote 4 of the 13 songs, and the other songs here are not ones that have been over-recorded with perhaps "Sinner's Prayer" being the best known.
Lurrie's unpredictability makes him such a fascinating guitarist to listen to and this is evident starting with the opening "Blues Is Trying to Keep up with Me," which he penned as well as his solo on Eddie Boyd's shuffle "Drifting," with Skoller and Purifoy also soloing. Lurrie's natural, slightly gritty vocals add to the appeal. There is some nice string popping on a lesser know T-Bone Walker number "I Get So Weary," while he unplugs for "One-Eyed Woman" backed only by Skoller. Another strong original, the slow, moody "This Worrisome Feeling in My Heart," is followed by a cover of one of Willie Dixon's lesser songs, "Sit Down Baby." Lurrie can not do much on this cover of Otis Rush's Cobra recording of this song.
A brisk Little Milton cover "Hold Me Tight," is followed by a nice interpretation of "Sinner's Prayer," that sounds adapted from Ray Charles. There is a nice walking groove of Lurrie's "I Can't Shake This Feeling," a gem that sounds like it came from Willie Dixon's pen with Skoller's backing harp sounding strong along with a typically distinctive Bell solo. Lurrie sings and plays his heart out on Buster Benton's "Born With The Blues," followed by Carey Bell's shuffle "Do You Hear." Bell also does a rendition of Willie Dixon's "Hidden Charms." If Lurrie is among the few guitarists who can conjure up Hubert Sumlin, he lacks Howlin' Wolf's vocal authority, which exposes this song as a lesser Willie Dixon lyric.
"Can't Shake This Feeling" closes with the reflective original (co-penned with Shurman) "Faith and Music" with just Lurrie on electric guitar. The music here is generally exceptional although there are a couple of lesser performances. Still, Lurrie Bell is one of most singular talents today in the blues.
I received my review copy from Delmark. I have revised for this blog the review that originally appeared in the November-December 2016 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 369) (downloadable at jazz-blues.com). Here is Lurrie in performance.