Saturday, 1 October 2011
Review: Lousiana Red
Louisiana Red & Little Victor’s Juke Joint - Memphis Mojo (Ruf)
Now in his mid-eighties the durable and prolific Alabama-born bluesman, known to his publisher as Iverson Minter, can stake a genuine claim to being one of the last of the greats. With a personal history fit to shape the genre (raised in orphanages, father a Klan victim, enlisted for Korea etc.), by the last quarter of the twentieth century his early reputation as a skilful imitator had given way to acknowledgement of his distinctive contribution as a singer and songwriter, and as a formidably inventive guitarist. He has continued to produce recordings (of admittedly variable quality) for over fifty years; but 2009’s acoustic ‘Back to the Black Bayou’ saw a triumphant return to form, which resulted in media plaudits and industry prizes.
New release ‘Memphis Mojo’, his second for Ruf, calls on the same core of musicians to repeat the magic, with chief collaborator Little Victor adding competitive second guitar to the solid backbeat and grainy, lo-fi production which characterises the set overall. There are no frills, no pyrotechnics and no gimmicks at work here; but, as convincingly demonstrated by outstanding numbers such as ‘Yolanda’, ‘Just Take Your Time’, and the single cover of Blind Lemon Jefferson’s ‘See That My Grave Is Kept Clean’, plenty of solid, raw, and heartfelt blues of the kind the good lord intended.