Brooks Williams review..August 10, 2018….

BROOKS WILLIAMS

LUCKY STAR

RED GUITAR BLUE MUSIC  RGBM 1801

BRIGHT SIDE OF THE BLUES–ALWAYS THE SAME–SOMETHING YOU GOT–MAMA’S SONG–GAMBLING MAN–AFTER YOU’VE GONE–HERE COMES THE BLUES–NO EASY WAY BACK–ROCK ME–JUMP THAT TRAIN–WHATEVER IT TAKES–GOING TO NEW ORLEANS–BONUS TRACKS–ROCK ME–GAMBLING MAN, BOTH FEATURING HANS THEESINK

Brooks Williams hails from Statesboro, GA, the town made famous by Blind Willie McTell and, later on, by the Allman Brothers.  A ferocious finger-picker and slide master, he mixes his own compositions and some well-chosen covers for his latest release, “Lucky Star.”

Nothin’ beats a good bluesman telling a good story, and this album is full of ’em.  Brooks is on guitar and vocals throughout, and opens the set with a look at a man tired of playing “the blame game” in a love affair, and walks away, over to the “Bright Side Of The Blues.”  Chris Kenner’s New Orleans nugget, “Something You Got,” has that good-times Sixties’ feel, in the spirit in which it was written.  He takes us down to those mythical, mystical Crossroads, where “that midnight deal is made,” in “Here Comes The Blues,” and revisits that vintage rock and roll feeling on the ballad of a scorned lover  willing to do “Whatever It Takes to make things right.”

Brooks has a lot of ol’ Willie in his DNA, too.  “It’s a curse to love a Gamblin’ Man” details the pitfalls of emotional attachment to those dyin’ crapshooters, and Brooks re-imagines a tune from Sister Rosetta Tharpe, giving a fine, gospel-fired, country-blues read of “Rock Me in the cradle of your love,” with harp from Paul Jones. These same two songs close the set as its Bonus Tracks, but both of these feature the iconic Hans Theesink on duet vocals.  Both are well-crafted in their original arrangements, but the addition of Hans’ deep baritone brogue mixed with Brooks’ spirited vocals makes for a brilliant pair of duets with which to close the proceedings.

With “Lucky Star,” Brooks Williams showcases his recent forays into a bluesier sound with a most excellent set of songs that blend country blues and traditional folk sounds.  Hey y’all—Brooks Williams rides again!   Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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