190

Son Seals: Lettin' Go

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
In the four years since his last recording, Chicago bluesman Son Seals has faced enough adversity to inspire a thousand blues songs. Three years ago Seals’ ex-wife shot him in the face, forcing him to undergo reconstructive jaw surgery. Last year, diabetes forced Seals to lose half of his left leg.

The indomitable Seals is back with a new recording and a new label. Lettin’ Go features some big-name guests, including guitarist Trey Anastasio of Phish (on one tune), Al Kooper on B-3 organ, Jimmy Vivino on guitars, and several of Vivino's fellow musicians from TV’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Seals' most unusual collaborator here is crime fiction writer and children’s lawyer Andrew Vachss, who penned lyrics to two of the album’s better songs, "Bad Blood" and "Doc’s Blues."

Seals seems to have mellowed a bit, no doubt owing to his recent health problems. The tunes on Lettin’ Go are more reflective and less edgy than on his eight Alligator releases. Fortunately, his vocals remain soulfully gruff, and his staccato guitar work is as idiosyncratic as ever. Lettin’ Go is leavened by a slick four-piece horn section that sometimes clashes with Seal's rough-hewn style. Still, this is a superior recording from a distinctive bluesman.

With its fast beat and wailing guitars, the remake of "Funky Bitch" (with Anastasio, Jeff Bihlman and Seals on guitars) evokes the Son Seals of old. "Let It Go" is a rousing blues number that features the horn section to good effect. Son even dabbles in country and gospel on his catchy original tune "Rockin' and Rollin' Tonight." "Osceola Rock" is a straightforward rock 'n roll tune that pays tribute to the bluesman's hometown in Arkansas. The lyrics mention the Dipsy Doodle, Seals' father’s old juke joint where Son first heard Albert King, Sonny Boy Williamson, and various other musicians who steered him toward a blues career.

Since Trey Anastasio and his band routinely draw 50,000 to their concerts, Lettin' Go should sell a few copies. Son Seals deserves the exposure, and he's certainly earned the right to sing the blues.

| Record Label: Telarc Records | Style: Blues


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
B.B. King B.B. King
guitar, electric
Buddy Guy Buddy Guy
guitar, electric
Albert Collins Albert Collins
guitar, electric
Earl Hooker Earl Hooker
guitar, slide
Otis Rush Otis Rush
guitar, electric
Tab Benoit Tab Benoit
guitar, electric
Hubert Sumlin Hubert Sumlin
guitar, electric
Hound Dog Taylor Hound Dog Taylor
guitar, slide
Billy Boy Arnold Billy Boy Arnold
harmonica
Mighty Joe Young Mighty Joe Young
guitar, electric
Kenny Neal Kenny Neal
guitar, electric
Lonnie Brooks Lonnie Brooks
guitar, electric

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Cinema Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Cinema Spiral
by John Sharpe
Published: August 9, 2016
Read "Pale White Shout" CD/LP/Track Review Pale White Shout
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Closer To The Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Closer To The Sun
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 10, 2016
Read "A Woman's Work..." CD/LP/Track Review A Woman's Work...
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "S-O-L-O: 30th Birthday/30 Concerts/30 Cities" CD/LP/Track Review S-O-L-O: 30th Birthday/30 Concerts/30 Cities
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: May 19, 2016
Read "Vortex Generation Mechanisms" CD/LP/Track Review Vortex Generation Mechanisms
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 25, 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!