Big Joe Duskin, piano, vocals; Ed Conley, bass; Philip Paul, drums
Guests: Peter Frampton, guitar; William Lee Ellis, guitar; Larry Nager, bass; Shawna Snyder, vocals
Cincinnati blues legend, Big Joe Duskin, formed an all-star rhythm section for this studio session recording, his first since 1988. Now 88 years of age, Duskin still demonstrates a bawdy, raucous swagger on boogie piano and his voice remains robust.
The trio masterfully sails through standards like "You're Gonna Miss Me" on two tracks, "Betty and Dupree," "One Dirty Rat" and "Miss Ida B" in a total of sixteen tracks. Guest guitarist Peter Frampton provides seasoned improvisition on "Every Day I Have The Blues" along with great brush work by the drummer and Duskin's sure bluesy vocals. "Down The Road A Piece" is a short boogie exercise with Duskin's piano playing shining. On the Big Bill Broonzy tune, "Key To The Highway," Frampton's guitar beautifully punctuates Duskin's mournful vocals. "Black Mountain Blues" features outstanding vocals by Shawna Snyder who puts her own reminiscent spin on this tune made famous by Bessie Smith. On "The Preacher And The Devil's Music," Duskin talks about his father, a brimstone preacher, who tried to steer him away from playing the blues - this nostalgic break leads into part two of "You're Gonna Miss Me," addressed to his father - a delightful shuffle rendition showcasing drums and bass. The last cut is a very short piano rendering of "Just A Closer Walk With Thee."
One of the best things about this CD is the drummer, Philip Paul, who articulates superb nuance while establishing the groove. Paul performed with such greats as Hank Ballard, Freddie King, Jimmy Smith and Nat Adderly and considers himself a Jazz drummer. There are a lot of drummers who should listen to this craftsman who demonstrates that less is more.
This CD is a lively offering proficiently performed by a master bluesman who still has the groove and puts a fresh spin on those good old blues. Highly recommended for blues fans!
by Dorothy L. Hill
New Sounds - October 2004
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