Back To The Black Bayou
One of the few current breed of blues belters n’ brooders that can trace some kind of lineage back to the roots and sources from whence the blues idiom originated, or at least was refined and ratified. The calibre of coaching from Lightning Hopkins, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Elmore James and more resonates throughout this simmering recording mainly comprised of the artist reacquainting himself with bygone travels. And quite marvellously does he acquit the proceedings too. Not too many steps removed from the late seventies Muddy Waters sessions stewarded by Johnny Winter that begat Hard Again and I’m Ready, with the James Cotton / Jerry Portnoy harp roles taken here by producer Little Victor. With a life lived under the black cloud of the real, though intangible, blues, including his father being a victim of a KKK lynching when he was five, El Red has an easily authoritative stance many strive to replicate and simply stall in all too apparent facsimiles of inherent feel and loose, shrug-back shuffles and street-beat salutes and slumbers. Born in 1932, Louisiana Red is all too rare - thin on the ground maybe, but thick on the heart and head - in a field whose name and symbolisms have long ago and worlds apart largely been cast onto the pyres of myth in favour of ersatz cappucino and latte froth culture of little or no significance or accord.