115

Louisiana Red: Always Played The Blues

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
Louisiana Red is a spontaneous kind of guy. He never writes any of his songs on paper, even for a recording session. The five British musicians who backed him on this release knew nothing of Red's intentions when they entered the studio. Red's extemporaneous approach could have spelled disaster, but it actually enhances this album. There's a loose jam-oriented feel to the recording, making it the blues equivalent of a Grateful Dead album.

Born Iverson Minter in Vicksburg, Miss., Louisiana Red never knew his mother. She died of pneumonia one week after Red was born. When Red was age five, the Ku Klux Klan murdered his father. Red was forced to move in with an aunt in Pittsburgh, where his uncle beat him relentlessly. Given his hellish childhood, it’s no wonder Louisiana Red decided to move to Europe as an adult. He’s resided in Germany since the 1980s, and he’s now a fixture on the European blues circuit.

Red’s attitude is amazing given his history, and his engaging personality comes shining through on this disk, recorded in 1990 in England and just recently released in the States.

Muddy Waters was Louisiana Red's mentor, so his music is strongly influenced by Chicago blues. Always Played the Blues features the double-guitar attack of Red and British axeman Richard Sudholme, and it's a fine raucous effort. Red also plays harmonica and sings, while talented New Orleans-based pianist Jon Cleary delivers a surprising Otis Spann-like performance.

Some of these 12 songs are much lengthier than your average blues tunes, but the musicians play then with raw intensity, so they never grow tedious. Highlights include "Sun Goes Down," a rowdy boogie, and "Hello, Mean Old World," an emotive slow tune with some nice slide playing by Red. Louisiana saves his best for the final two cuts. "Feeling Inside" is a jaunty feel-good tune with an irresistible rock 'n roll backbeat. "Mambo Mumbo" is a danceable New Orleans-style instrumental on which Cleary delivers his usual Professor Longhair-like performance.

With nearly 75 minutes of spontaneous electric blues, this one serves a fine introduction to Louisiana Red.

| Style: Blues


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Muddy Waters Muddy Waters
guitar
Taj Mahal Taj Mahal
guitar
Jimmy Reed Jimmy Reed
guitar, electric
Elmore James Elmore James
guitar, slide
Earl Hooker Earl Hooker
guitar, slide
Alexis Korner Alexis Korner
guitar
Mance Lipscomb Mance Lipscomb
guitar, acoustic
Johnny Shines Johnny Shines
guitar

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "Dream Delivery" CD/LP/Track Review Dream Delivery
by Dave Wayne
Published: July 28, 2016
Read "In Tokyo, Japan" CD/LP/Track Review In Tokyo, Japan
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 16, 2016
Read "Live! from the Cantina: A Star Wars Jazz Tribute" CD/LP/Track Review Live! from the Cantina: A Star Wars Jazz Tribute
by Jim Olin
Published: March 6, 2016
Read "Work Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Work Songs
by Mark F. Turner
Published: March 1, 2016
Read "Do Not Disturb" CD/LP/Track Review Do Not Disturb
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 26, 2016
Read "The Sparrow" CD/LP/Track Review The Sparrow
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 15, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!