105

Eddie Kirkland: The Complete Trix Recordings

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
The Complete Trix Recordings is a reasonably priced two-CD collection consisting of two separate albums Eddie Kirkland recorded during the early ‘70s for the Trix label. These two discs are so dissimilar one might reasonably conclude that different artists recorded them, but such is the versatility of Jamaica-born bluesman Kirkland.

Front and Center is a solo set of electric and acoustic country blues, while The Devil and Other Blues Demons finds the turban-headed Kirkland combining fiery electric blues with Memphis-style soul and James Brown-style funk. He’s backed on the latter disc by a chooglin’ group from upstate New York called the Italian-American Blues Band.

Now 71, Eddie Kirkland grew up in Alabama, ran away from home to play guitar with a medicine show at age 12, backed John Lee Hooker during the latter’s "Boom Boom" period, and spent time as Otis Redding’s musical director. Kirkland is a very inventive self-taught guitarist who, like Wes Montgomery, uses his thumb and fingers rather than a conventional pick to generate some unusual chords and riffs. Kirkland is still performing great music today, as evidenced by his excellent 1997 album Lonely Street.

Front and Center provides an intimate forum for Kirkland’s rootsy guitar work. His slide technique is particularly impressive here, and his original tunes bow to tradition without surrendering to it. This disc also demonstrates Kirkland’s prowess on harp.

Since I usually prefer the dynamics of a group performance to a solo set, the second disc is my favorite. Raw and danceable, it showcases Kirkland’s unique guitar playing and his powerful soul-drenched vocals. Kirkland’s voice sounds uncannily like James Brown’s on about half these cuts, but in no way does he come off as an imitator. His embrace of soul and blues styles has always made Kirkland’s music hard to pigeonhole, but no matter what you label it, Devil delivers some fine funky fare. Some songs are more evocative of Otis Redding ("Snake In the Grass," "Georgia Woman"); still others offer straightforward blues ("Hard To Raise A Family Today," Rollin’ Stone Man"). The Italian-American Band provides loose and versatile backing for the soulful Kirkland.

The Complete Trix Recordings is a diverse collection from a creative but scandalously underrated blues musician and songwriter.

| Record Label: 32 Records | Style: Blues


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
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 "Time Out" CD/LP/Track Review Time Out
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: July 9, 2016
Read "Twin Talk" CD/LP/Track Review Twin Talk
by Mark F. Turner
Published: September 19, 2016
Read "American Tunes" CD/LP/Track Review American Tunes
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: July 1, 2016
Read "Mettã" CD/LP/Track Review Mettã
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 26, 2016
Read "Like a Bird or Spirit, not a Face" CD/LP/Track Review Like a Bird or Spirit, not a Face
by John Eyles
Published: March 4, 2016
Read "Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Peace
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 18, 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!