170

Lowell Fulson: Black Widow Spider Blues

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Lowell Fulson: Black Widow Spider Blues
When it came to playing the blues Lowell Fulson possessed an uncanny versatility born out of necessity. He could reference the unadorned acoustic styles of his youth, or just as easily switch pitches and lay down a high-energy urban jump blues. He’s flexibility was due in part to financial reasons- a greater number of styles under one’s belt meant a greater number of possible gigs. But more accurately it was simply the result of dedicated practice and commitment to his craft.

The recordings on this Catfish compilation come prior to Fulson’s famous partnership with the Chess label and are among his earliest. Waxed while he was eking out an existence on the West Coast these sides are mainly swing and jump blues in the vein of T-Bone Walker. But where they differ strikingly from this obvious source of influence is in the prickly bite of Fulson’s guitar. His stinging chords hack away any kind of maudlin sentimentality and infuse the music with a welcome raw edge. His various combinations range from duo to ‘orchestra’ (septet) size, but it’s on the former where his guitar is given most latitude to scratch and claw at the simple arrangements. Moments like the pugnacious preface to “My Baby” reference just how well his strings keep things honest and out of the range of teary-eyed romanticism. The task is more difficult on the fleshed out orchestra tunes where a light swing element threatens to crop up occasionally and Fulson’s once ornery guitar loses a little steam. But more often than not he rises above the limitations of his material and largely succeeds in subsuming the more polished impulses. Disc highlights include highlights are a trio of tracks with Fulson in the company of his brother Martin on second guitar. The pair turns their amps up to the verge of heavy distortion and smolder through a haunting mini-set of down home numbers.

Fulson may have cut a litany of sides for a variety of labels during his career, but these late 40s gem are among his most lasting and representative. Gathered together in one convenient place they afford an important aperture into the man’s music previously unavailable. Catfish should be commended.

Track Listing

9:30 Shuffle/ Thinking Blues/ Wee Hours In the Morning/ My Baby/ Demon Woman/ Blues And Misery/ Ain

Personnel

Lowell Fulson- electric guitar, vocal; Rufus J. Russell- piano; Arthur Jackson- bass; Asal

Album information

Title: Black Widow Spider Blues | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Catfish Records (UK)

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Free Hoops
Free Hoops
Sylvie Courvoisier Trio
Read A Walk in the Park
A Walk in the Park
Jerry Cook Quartet +
Read New Aurora
New Aurora
Michael Sarian
Read Unnavigable Tributaries
Unnavigable Tributaries
Vicente / Brice / Sanders
Read How To turn the Moon
How To turn the Moon
Angelica Sanchez & Marilyn Crispell
Read The Path
The Path
Chien Chien Lu

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.