J. T. Lauritsen review…August 11, 2013…

J. T. LAURITSEN AND FRIENDS

PLAY BY THE RULES

HUNTERS RECORDS  HRC  0012013

EVERY DAY WILL BE LIKE A HOLIDAY–NEXT TIME–PLAY BY THE RULES–NEED MY BABE–MEMPHIS BOOGIE–I’LL NEVER GET OVER YOU–EVER SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN–MATHILDA–FIND MY LITTLE GIRL–VALLEY OF TEARS–EYE CANDY–THE BLUES GOT ME

 

J. T. Lauritsen has been a vital part of the bustling Scandinavian blues scene for some twenty years.  But, for his seventh album, he trekked to Memphis to the legendary Ardent Studios to lay down five tracks.  He returned home to Oslo, Norway to finish the remaining seven tracks, and the result is a tremendous mixed bag of goodies entitled “Play By The Rules,” which touches on J. T.’s deep affinity for blues, zydeco, rock, and soul.  He is a very soulful, captivating vocalist, and also shines throughout the set on harp, accordion, and B-3.  The Oslo cuts feature his regular band, The Buckshot Hunters, while the Memphis cuts feature several of the Bluff City’s finest in guest spots.

The party starts with a beautiful rendition of William Bell’s “Every Day Will Be Like A Holiday,” and has Larry McCray and Kelly Clarke on backing vocals, all of them helping to capture that elusive “Memphis feel” of this ballad.  “Ever Since The World Began” and “Next Time” follow a sweet, swingin’ New Orleans second-line pattern, and both have Reba Russel and Debbie Jamison on harmony vocals.  There is also impressive guitar work on each of these as well.   “Mathilda” is a down-home, old-school zydeco love song, and guest Victor Wainwright pounds the 88’s in the amped-up instrumental, “Memphis Boogie,” with J. T. on the squeeze box.   J. T. gets down to the blues of the matter in a red-hot take of Big Walter’s “Need My Babe.”  This one features a spirited harp “duel” between J. T. and Billy Gibson, a fine young man we have known since waaay before he won the Blues Award for Best Harp Player a few years back.  The set closes with another rockin’ shuffle, “The Blues Got Me,” with the backing chorus of the “Memphis Misfits.”

We had two favorites, too.  Josh Roberts’ crying slide helps J. T. paint the picture of a “two-timin’ fool” who could never win at love due to his inability to “Play By The Rules.”  And, “Find My Little Girl” has got a backbeat that you just can’t resist, and a blistering guitar solo from Anson Funderburgh.

Add “Play By The Rules” from J. T. Lauritsen and friends to that list of albums you wish could last about another hour longer.  The good times roll all over this one from start to finish!  Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.

 

 

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