James Blood Ulmer: No Escape From the Blues (2003)
Memphis Blood is a formidable disc to follow up. Again under the direction of Vernon Reid, James Blood Ulmer has entered yet another famous studio, Electric Lady, and produced yet another weird masterpiece of the blues. No Escape from The Blues is a bit more lighthearted than Memphis Blood but still detonates in all directions like a possessed fireworks stand. Ulmer employs an impressive array of vocal techniques on this record that range from the ragged-desperate "Ghetto Child" and "Are You Glad to Be in America." Ulmer and Reid give the festivities a skiffle-band feel on "Goin’ to New York" and the original "Satisfy."
Howlin’ Wolf’s "Who’s Been Talkin’" is sung low sotto voce very effectively over a Junior Wells' "Messin’ With the Kid" riff with Leon Grunbaum’s carousel organ. "Trouble in Mind" is presented like a church hymn, Ulmer singing with a peculiar mix of innocence and menace. There is plenty of lava here as well. Vernon Reid supplies searing guitar solos that juxtapose brilliantly with Ulmer's harmolodic solo approach. Reid engineers a tsunami of sound on John Lee Hooker’s "You Know, I Know" and Muddy’s "The Blues had a Baby...." At a time when the blues was looking like a dead end, a prophet appears to show the new way. That prophet is James Blood Ulmer.
Track Listing: Goin
Personnel: James Blood Ulmer
Record Label: Hyena Records