228

L.V. Banks: Ruby

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
Thanks to the mid-'90s blues revival, a handful of deserving Chicago blues musicians managed to land recording contracts after years of hard labor in the clubs. A prime example is South Side bluesman L.V. Banks, a fine guitarist and soulful singer who's been plugging away at the blues thang for 40-plus years.

Like so many of his peers, Banks cut his teeth in the Mississippi Delta before relocating to Chicago. Inspired by Little Milton, Howlin' Wolf and B.B. King, Banks taught himself guitar and led his own band in Greenville, Miss., before moving to Chi-Town in 1965. Despite 30 years as a blues fixture in the city, Banks didn't secure a recording contract until 1995 when Austria's Wolf Records released his debut, Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear.

Ruby is Banks' sophomore effort, and it's a fine one. His 10 original songs incorporate many familiar blues riffs, but his vocals are charming and his guitar work is pleasingly gritty. The album features Banks' regular band — Michael Thomas (rhythm guitar), Jerry Price (drums) and David Kay (bass) — along with talented pianist Allan Batts.

Little Milton's influence can be heard on the title track "Ruby," an upbeat love song with a funky groove. Banks' tremulous guitar licks lead the way on "Express Love" and "I Love My Guitar," two tracks strongly evocative of B. B. King. Though Banks' 10 original songs are peppered with guitar phrases borrowed from classic blues tunes, they groove along in raw Chicago fashion, and his band is nice and tight. Pianist Batts adds many agile two-fisted runs. The CD closes with a rousing gospel-inflected version of the Bobby Bland classic "Love Light." Also included is a catchy cover of T-Bone Walker's "Bobby Sox Baby."

It's good to hear a contemporary blues guitarist who's more influenced by soul and classic blues than head-banging rock. L.V. Banks has been around the block, and clearly he's learned a few tricks along the way.

| Record Label: Wolf Records | Style: Blues


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Howlin' Wolf Howlin' Wolf
vocalist
Eddie Shaw Eddie Shaw
sax, tenor
Magic Sam Magic Sam
guitar, electric
John Primer John Primer
guitar, electric

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 "Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Vilnius Jazz Festival
by John Sharpe
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "AHEO" CD/LP/Track Review AHEO
by James Nadal
Published: May 23, 2016
Read "Live In Greenwich Village" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Greenwich Village
by John Sharpe
Published: April 2, 2016
Read "Collective Effervescence" CD/LP/Track Review Collective Effervescence
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 24, 2016
Read "The Candy Men" CD/LP/Track Review The Candy Men
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 28, 2016
Read "Happy All the Time" CD/LP/Track Review Happy All the Time
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 12, 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!