Hallelujah! Southern Blues Just Found a New Hero.
As regular readers already know, I still put a lot of stock in an album’s cover artwork; ‘pretending’ I’m flicking through the racks of a record store looking for something new and interesting …… would that be true, this album would certainly have stopped me in my tracks.
Then as Cummings’ Memphis Soul inspired version of Hold On (I’m Coming) was less than a minute old I would be thrusting my hard earned cash at the shop assistant……. then running hot foot to the car to hear the rest of the album.
Okay, we’ve heard most of these songs before and to some extent we’ve heard Cummings style of singing and guitar playing before, but …….. and it’s a big BUT ……. we ain’t ever heard them combined in this funky, kick-ass way ever, ever, EVER!
Do What Mama Says, which follows at first sounds like the Rev’d Green fronting Them; but it really doesn’t as Albert blends his Gospel Roots with some mighty fine Juke Joint Blues to give us something very special indeed.
Does the world need another version of Red Rooster or My Babe or even Van the Man’s Crazy Love? A week ago I would have just rolled my eyes; but today each of these ‘Classics’ have become shiny Tour de Force’s that will make you forget that they aren’t 21st Century Contemporary grooves.
I’ve been a fan of ‘The Blues’ for nearly half a century now; and it amazes me still that the likes of Albert Cummings still have the power to amaze and stun in equal measures; with his staggering guitar playing on the instrumental Call Me Crazy and his ornery Country Blues song It’s All Good making me wonder why I’ve never heard of him before.
Over the last week nearly every song here has been a contender at one time or another for the title of Favourite Track (especially Red Rooster); but Queen of Mean somehow manages to outshine all others, with the glorious harmonies, funky beat and Cummings singing as if his life depends on it (and it just might when you listen to the lyrics!)
Albert Cummings ticks all of the boxes I have for buying Blues album; and when I played it to my eldest brother we got into a heated discussion of how good and innovative his guitar playing really is, which brings me to the outstanding finale, Me & My Guitar which sees the guitarist shifting gears yet again playing chords from what my Big Brother calls ‘the dirty end’ of the guitar; but no; I’m sticking with my first choice of Favourite Track ….. for now.
Ultimately I will leave it to you to decide of course; but if you are a fan of BB King, SRV, Albert Collins or Eric Clapton ……. I’ll take it personally if you don’t fall in love with this album.
Released February 14th 2020