Lightnin’ Willie review…June 24, 2017….

LIGHTNIN WILLIE

NO BLACK NO WHITE JUST BLUES

LITTLE DOG RECORDS

CAN’T GET THAT STUFF–EYES IN THE BACK OF MY HEAD–LOCKED IN A PRISON–SAD ‘N BLUE–NOTE ON MY DOOR–HEARTACHE–FUSS AND FIGHT–PHONE STOPPED RINGING–THINKING OF YOU–SHAKE MY SNAKE

Bluesman and all-around gentleman Lightnin Willie plays a mean brand of blues that is ultra-heavy on the groove, and his fans are moved to dance wherever he plays.  And, he’s sho’ nuff played in some fancy places, too.  He’s performed at Willie Nelson’s Fourth Of July Picnic, alongside Willie,  Dylan, and Leon Russell.  Also, he’s been part of the Ignite Series at the Royal Albert Hall over across the pond!  His latest album’s title sums up his outlook on music–“No Black No White Just Blues,” for Little Dog Records.

Willie wrote the ten cuts herein, with enough cool blues and solid grooves to fill up his big ole black hat and then some.  “Locked In A Prison”  details the sad story of a man with a warden for a woman,  and he knows “my jailer by the sound of her shoes.”  Michael Murphy is on the piano, with sax from the mighty Ron Dzuibla.  You gotta love the humor in the tale of a man who can feel that his lover is cheatin’, so much so that “I got Eyes In The Back Of My Head,” with the chromatic harp courtesy of Pete Anderson.

Willie experiments with various styles herein, too.  “Note On My Door” explores the blues in a jazzy vein, while the classic cha-cha  backbeat drives “Heartache” and “Phone Stopped Ringing,” the latter of which finds our hero alone again, save for “sitting next to lonesome, here by the door.”  And, “Thinking Of You” is a beautiful ballad done in the style of those epic Fifties’ love songs.

Our favorites bookended the set.  In closing, there is the amped-up, jacked-up, slide-ridin’, just-a-little-bit-naughty endless boogie of “Shake My Snake.”  And, leading off is a humorous look at society’s many taboos, “Can’t Get That Stuff no more.”  This one features another one of our favorite piano players, Dona Oxford.

The blues needs more characters, y’all, and Lightnin’ Willie is one of the good ‘uns.  A great man once said the blues is color blind, and “No Black No White Just Blues” backs up that statement in spades!  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.

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