TO BE IN YOUR COMPANY
EARWIG MUSIC CD 4970
TO BE IN YOUR COMPANY–BORDERLINE–STEALIN’–WHY WE LOVE EACH OTHER–KNUCKLEHEAD–SWAMP WITCH–SOMETHIN’ NICE AND SWEET–WININ BOY BLUES–FRIEND–IF I WAS A BAD MAN–BESSIE–RIBBON OF DARKNESS–MOONSHINER–SUNNY AFTERNOON–I’D BE LONELY TOO–I’M JUST AN OLD CHUNK OF COAL–CROSSTOWN–I DREAM ABOUT YOU
Les Copeland is a native of British Columbia, and began playing guitar at age eleven. Largely self-taught, his first exposure to the blues was Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “London Calling” LP. He was a straight-blues player at first, then began to gradually expand by adding music from Wes Montgomery and Chuck Berry into his repertoire, and now he can play anything you’d wanna hear. That versatility pervades throughout his latest set for Earwig, “To Be In Your Company.” Over the eighteen cuts, there are several of Les’ originals, and he tells us that he writes from experience, and “people I know–some I love, and some I don’t!”
Strictly an acoustic affair, Les starts off with his original tribute to his friend and mentor, David “Honeyboy” Edwards. In fact, “To Be In Your Company” has Les praising the fact that he’s mentioned with the likes of “Honeyboy, Sonny Boy, and Little Walter, too!”
Of the songs that deal with those he loves, Les gives them the highest praise. “Stealin” was written as a love song for his wife, and her part in stealing his heart! The same can be said for the playful “Knucklehead,” as he and his wife are always giving “pet” names to each other. This one has some cool, unique-sounding guitar, too.
“Winin’ Boy Blues” is pure fun, which Les learned from a risque’ ditty by Jelly Roll Morton, effectively “cleaned up” for recording purposes! “If I Was A Bad Man” features some of Les’ best slide guitar playing on the set, too.
We had three favorites, too. Les gives a plaintive read of Gordon Lightfoot’s ode to a lost love, which casts that “Ribbon Of Darkness over me.” Life as seen thru the eyes of an ol’ “Moonshiner” has Les wondering, “if whiskey don’t kill me, I don’t know what will,” on this most excellent version of a Dylan song. And, Les has a lotta fun with Jim Stafford’s spooky tale of Black Water Hattie, the town pariah, (at least until she cures the town’s fever epidemic), “Swamp Witch.”
Les Copeland is another of those master storytellers who appreciates where the blues has been, and has a firm grip on where it’s headed. It is our real pleasure “To Be In Your Company,” Les! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.