Ike Turner: Risin’ With The Blues (2006)
This is how it is. Ike Turner sings like a good-time Captain Beefheart, and his guitar playing stings like inhaling lemonade. He's also one of the legends of popular music, whose course might have been different if it hadn't been for him. On this disc he plays like a man half his age and with a lust for life akin to a man fifty years younger.
Sure, the contemporary touches get in the way, and whilst the music is some way from down home, it has a lot of the qualities that made that music so great. Besides, Ike Turner knows that because he was there, and nothing can take that away from him.
In fact, on the likes of his own "Tease Me," the issue's irrelevant. Turner's a hungry man, figuratively speaking. He doesn't have any qualms about laying that feeling on the listener, and when he and his band nail Fats Domino's inimitable lilt on "Goin' Home Tomorrow," the fact that he doesn't quite hit the vocal has the odd effect of making the performance even more appealing. It's nice to know he's subject to the same human failings as the rest of us.
Lack of range isn't one of these, and Turner and the band do a cover of Horace Silver's "Senor Blues" that'll have the purists feeling queasy. For the rest of us, it's testament to how broad that river of music can be.
What it comes down to is that this is the sound of a man revelling in the years and having himself a high old time. Any qualms we might have just don't seem to matter, and only the very meanest hearts would want to deny him that right.
Track Listing: Gimme Back My Wig; Caldonia; Tease Me; Goin’ Home Tomorrow; Jazzy Fuzzy; I Don’t Want Nobody; Jesus Loves Me; A Love Like Yours; Senor Blues; Eighteen Long Years; Rockin’ Blues; After Hours; Big Fat Mama; Bi Polar.
Personnel: Ike Turner: lead vocals, guitar, piano. The Kings Of Rhythm: Mack Johnson, Leo Dumbecki, Ryan Montana: horns; Seth Blumberg, Joe Kelly: guitars; Ken Frizelle: harp; Paul Smith, Ernest Lane: keyboards; Kevin Cooper: bass; Bill Ray, Matt Long, Harry Jen Frizelle: drums. Audrey Madison: backing Vocals (7); Lenny “Fuzzy” Rankins: guitar (5).