Linsey Alexander review…August 29, 2014…

LINSEY ALEXANDER

COME BACK BABY

DELMARK RECORDS  DE 838

LITTLE BIT OF SOAP–BOOZE AND BLUES–I GOT A WOMAN–COME BACK BABY–CALL MY WIFE–THINGS DONE CHANGED–CAN’T DRINK, CAN’T SLEEP, CAN’T EAT–BOOTY CALL–TOO OLD TO BE A NEW FOOL–SNOWING IN CHICAGO–I CAN’T QUIT YOU BABY–FUNKY FEELING–GOIN’ OUT WALKIN’

Linsey Alexander continues to be one of the hardest-working bluesmen in that very competitive Windy City club scene.  An accomplished guitarist, and vocalist, his witty, humorous, and thought-provoking original lyrics are becoming more prevalent as his career continues to flourish.  His latest CD for Delmark is “Come Back Baby,” and is thirteen cuts, eleven of which are Linsey originals.

Born in Holly Springs, MS, his family moved to Memphis when he was twelve or so, and he took up the guitar shortly thereafter.  He took off for Chicago around 1960, not to play music or to seek work, but to follow a woman he was in love with.  That “love affair” is documented in song on this set, thru the gritty, hard-biting “Snowing In Chicago.”

When he first came into Chicago and got involved in the music scene, he prided himself on being a “soul man” of sorts–he could sing and play all the hits of the day by guys such as James Brown and Tyrone Davis, and crowds appreciated it all over town.  That is why that about half of the cuts on this set follow that soul-blues vibe, and are augmented by his killer horn section.

Let’s get to the songs, tho.  If you dig yo’self some slow blues, don’t go no further than the deep, scorching “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” and the humorous “Too Old To Be A New Fool,” where Linsey tells his lover that she’d be better off with one of those “low-pants-wearing young dudes,” and the story of “more woman than I’ll ever need,” “I Got A Woman.”  Both of these feature Billy Branch on the harp.

Linsey offers up a blues history lesson of sorts with the topical “Things Done Changed” from the days of painful segregation in the pre-Civil-Rights era.  And, the set closes with a cool shuffle, “Goin’ Out Walkin,” “till I get my baby back home!”

We had two favorites, too, one of the soul-blues cuts, and one of the more traditional-sounding ones.  First up, you just can’t beat Linsey for good-time, down-home lyrics on subjects that we are all familiar with, and he lets it all hang out with a seriously “well-rounded” young lady who’s the subject of his “Booty Call.”  Another cut with Billy Branch on harp is the hilarious tale of a man too drunk to get home, so somebody needs to “Call My Wife so she can come down to my girlfriend’s house to get me!”

Linsey Alexander is a real crowd-pleaser no matter where he plays, because he’s been around long enough to know what the people want, and he gives it to ’em.  “Come Back Baby” is just that—a clever mix of soul-flavored blues and traditional blues from one of Chicago’s premier players!    Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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