Lurrie Bell review…July 16, 2013…

LURRIE BELL

BLUES IN MY SOUL

DELMARK RECORDS  DE 829

HEY HEY BABY–BLUES IN MY SOUL–I FEEL SO GOOD–SHE’S A GOOD ‘UN–‘BOUT THE BREAK OF DAY–GOING AWAY BABY–24 HOUR BLUES–MY LITTLE MACHINE–I JUST KEEP LOVING HER–T-BONE BLUES SPECIAL–JUST THE BLUES–SOUTH SIDE TO RIVERSIDE–IF IT’S TOO LATE–BLUES NEVER DIE

 

Enough has been written about the “trials” of Lurrie Bell (as he so aptly calls them), that we are not going to rehash them here.  We will say, tho, for a man who lost not only his life’s partner and their twin babies, as well as his beloved father, harp legend Carey Bell, all during 2007, he has literally lived every note of the blues that he wrings from his guitar.  And, Lurrie has not let these hardships overtake him–in fact, he has not only risen above them all, but he’s become a stronger person and performer since those difficult days.  For the first time since 1999’s “Blues Had A Baby,” Lurrie is back as the frontman for a Delmark album.  It is entitled “Blues In My Soul,” and features Lurrie going back to the thing he’s always done best–giving his all in playing the real-deal Chicago blues.  He hand-picked the covers for this set, as well as writing three originals to add to the mix, all done with Lurrie’s indelible stamp of perfection.

He’s joined by his favorite cast of “go-to” guys, too.  Roosevelt Purifoy is on keys, Melvin Smith is on bass,  Willie “The Touch” Hayes is on drums, and Matthew Skoller lays down the old-school harp.  Add in the horns of Marques Carroll, Chris Neal, and Mark Hebert, and this is one sweet ride ’round the South Side!

The party starts with Lurrie’s jazzy, uptown licks carrying the T-Bone Walker classic, “Hey Baby.”  The horn section punches this one up, and does so again a little later on the funky original instrumental, “South Side To Riverside.”  Lurrie’s trademark single-note flourishes are prevalent on the West Side strut of “She’s A Good ‘Un,” and dedicates a spirited original, “24 Hour Blues,” to good friend Magic Slim and recorded on February 21, 2013, the day of Slim’s untimely passing.   Matthew’s harp adds to the Delta feel of “Goin’ Away Baby,” while the set closes with a powerful Otis Spann cover, the slow-burn of “Blues Never Die,” where Lurrie reminds us that in hard times, “the blues is a man’s best friend.”

We had two favorites, too.  You can almost feel the joy in his voice on his take of “I Feel So Good,” and his deep-blues guitar is on full display on the Junior Wells chestnut, “come see me early in the morning, baby Bout The Break Of Day.”

Lurrie sings it best on the title cut.  He’s in a very comfortable place now, and, as always, “I feel the blues all the way down in my soul.”  He’s an inspiration to us all, and “Blues In My Soul” is one of the best albums of his storied career.  He and the band are fully-engaged on this one, an excellent journey into some serious Chicago blues.   Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

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