Son of Buffalo blues musician and club owner James Peterson, 34-year old Lucky Peterson recorded his first album at age 5 and Willie Dixon produced it. Lucky is aptly named, but the thing that makes him lucky is not his birthright or his early start it's his talent. Peterson plays nasty wah-wah-tinged guitar, soulful B-3, saucy electric piano, and he sings with captivating intensity.
This self-titled release contains more soul than blues tunes. Some of its tracks will be familiar to boomers who listened to Top 40 radio in the '60s and '70s: Sam Cooke's party tune "Shake;" Timmy Thomas' distinctive 1973 hit "Why Can't We Live Together;" a soulful duet version of Willie Nelson's " Funny How Time Slips Away" (with Joe Louis Walker); and an instrumental interpretation of "Ode to Billy Joe."
I'm not sure why, but even some of the new songs here sound like tunes I've heard before, particularly "Ask Me Nothing 'Bout The Blues" and the secular gospel rave-up "Don't Cry No More." Incidentally, the latter evokes as much raucous passion as the Isley Brothers' "Shout," and it features the Late Night Horns from my favorite talk show band The Max Weinberg Seven. Also moving is Peterson's heartfelt "Tribute to Luther Allison," on which he plays the late master's old guitar.
Depending on your outlook, the derivative nature of Lucky Peterson's music is either a turn-off or an attractor. Lucky Peterson is especially recommended to people who can't get enough '60s-style soul music. Few artists blend soul and blues more effectively than Peterson.
Rating *** (out of ****)
Tracks:Deal with It; The Otherside; Tribute to Luther Allison; Shake; Funny How Time Slips Away; Why Can't We Live Together; Ask Me Nothing 'Bout the Blues; She's Giving Me the Blues; Seduction; Ta' Ta' You; Don't Cry No More; Ode to Billy Joe
Players:Lucky Peterson (Vocals, Clavinet, Guitar, Piano, Hammond Organ, Wurlitzer); Joe Louis Walker (Vocals); Butch Bonner (Rhythm Guitar); Johnny B. Gayden (Bass); Rico McFarland (Rhythm Guitar, Vocals); Mark Pender ( Trumpet); Steve Potts (Drums); Jerry Vivino (Saxophones)