105

Eddie Kirkland: The Complete Trix Recordings

Ed Kopp By

Sign in to view read count
Eddie Kirkland: The Complete Trix Recordings 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.

Title: The Complete Trix Recordings | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: 32 Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read The Romeo and Juliet Project CD/LP/Track Review The Romeo and Juliet Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Crystal Machine CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Machine
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "Presidential Suite (Eight Variations on Freedom)" CD/LP/Track Review Presidential Suite (Eight Variations on Freedom)
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 25, 2016
Read "Dialectrical" CD/LP/Track Review Dialectrical
by John Sharpe
Published: June 19, 2017
Read "Meeting At The Parting Place" CD/LP/Track Review Meeting At The Parting Place
by Dave Wayne
Published: October 1, 2016
Read "Flowers" CD/LP/Track Review Flowers
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 19, 2016
Read "Seasons 1-4 Live" CD/LP/Track Review Seasons 1-4 Live
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: January 6, 2017
Read "On Hollywood Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.