Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Boss Man of the Blues

Boss Man of the Blues has always been my favorite Jimmy Reed album, most likely because it was the first Jimmy Reed album I picked up, way back around 1966 when I first started getting hooked on blues. Even though most of the songs were recorded after his glory days in the early- to mid-50s, there was still much to like from his early- to mid-60s period. And for a novice blues hound, there was also a bit of an education to be had along the way. This was the album that introduced me to the standards “St. Louis Blues” and “Outskirts Of Town.” For all my friends and I knew at the time, they were Jimmy Reed compositions. Though most the of tunes on this LP are from the 1962–1963 period, there are also two great instrumentals from the 1950s, the spare, insistent “Roll And Rhumba,” and “Odds And Ends” with its atmospheric electric violin played by “Levinsky” (aka Remo Biondi). A couple of other high points are “Too Much” with its guttural vocal, and the tender, poetic “Caress Me Baby.” And the various Vee-Jay rhythm sections led by guitarists Eddie Taylor and Lefty Bates hold Jimmy’s laconic sound together in fine fashion.

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