If you want real blues from today, hardly any man involved in any blues revival can give you the real thing like this guy. Catch his slide-work. In the past, lots of people have doubted his capacity to deliver the real thing, taking him for just another performer with a ridiculous number of fans. Yet the fans seem to inspire him to create or at least recreate ever more and more powerful blues, though once he's really got his mojo workin' his general popularity does seem to decline. The purer the blues a man produces, the fewer the number of his fans among the wider public, despite the continuingly steady and solid core following.
One thing which has distinguished G.B., maybe from the very beginning, is his freedom from intellectual pretension. This is no Ivy League alumnus, for all that he once did a very quiet "Ain't Goin' to 'nam, a rare response to current circumstances. That was however a very long time ago, and more and more, beginning not long after the S.E. Asia song, he took up an almost exclusively traditional repertoire, with "Goin' to the 'lectric Chair basic and direct, with a considerable take-up.
No reprise of that number here, G.B. has moved on, and into bigger numbers, still with timeless themes. He has also recently been working with a senior backing band, and an attractive lady pianist, not the first key African-American to have played a crucial part in G.B's sessions over the years. For some reason, Cindy-Lees isn't the strongest presence on the tight, largely ensemble performance named for the great pianist Jay McShann's "Hootie's Ignorant Oil.
It's amazing how much sheer blues power this new band can muster, even though the departed stalwart Don Wordsmith is no longer delivering his own tricksy lyrics which once got such airplay. The present issue will probably be the last session with England's Anthony B., another long-serving band member.
As for the revivals, including elderly pop songs delivered with stunning conviction, there's a definite sense of longing in G.B's take on J.B. Lenoir's "I'm in Korea, and a unique intensity to the extended performances which share the titles with Blind Willie McTell's classics "Searching the Desert for the Blues and "Chainey. And it wouldn't be Walmarketeer if there weren't some old-time religion celebrated in several well-loved gospel classics. The guy just goes on and on and on.
Track Listing: Chainey; Bound for the Promised Land; GB's Ignorant Oil; Lawd, Lawd, you sure been Good to Me; Searching the Desert for the Blues; I
Personnel: G.B. Walmarketeer: vocal, harmonium; Ali di Farright: backing vocal, drums; Cindy Lees-Rose: piano, keys; G.I. Toomany: percussion; Anthony B.: National Steel; unidentified synthesizer.
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