Saturday, October 15, 2011

Music Review: “Memphis Mojo” by Louisiana Red & Little Victor’s Juke Joint

It’s been a real Ruf week. By that I mean that I have had the opportunity to review two new CD’s from Ruf Records, the record company that handles some of the best blues and cross over blues artist in Europe. The good news is it’s going to get Ruf-er as the new Savoy Brown record is on the way. But today, I wanna talk about a legend. A man who doesn’t play the blues. He has lived the blues and he is still bringing it.


                                                 Memphis Mojo

Born Iverson Minter in March 1932, Louisiana Red’s mother died a week after he was born. In 1941 the KKK lynched his father. Passed around from relative to relative, throughout the south Louisiana Red played on his first record in 1949 for the Chess label. After a stint in the Army, 1952 found him recording for Checker Records under the name Rocky Fuller. By the late ‘50s he was playing slide guitar for John Lee Hooker in Detroit.

In 1975 he wrote and recorded the song most identified with him; "Sweet Blood Call". After his first wife died in 1972 at a young age, and with the recognition he garnered from "Sweet Blood Call" he moved to Germany in 1981. The blues, especially traditional blues were not gettinng the attention in the states, where as they never really lost their power to move people in Europe. That same year, Eric Burdon of Animals fame recorded "Sweet Blood Call" .

Sweet Blood Call - 1975

Louisiana had toured with Burdon and The Eric Burdon band in ‘79, and Burdon’s version of the song was used in the film, “Comeback” in ‘81. This led to an on again off again relationship with Burdon and his various bands. In 1983 he finally received the recognition in the states that was long over due with a W.C. Handy Award for best traditional blues artist.

In ‘97, he finally came back to the states behind an Official Comeback Tour where he was greeted with open arms by the fans and the critics. With influences from Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Lightnin' Hopkins, Elmore James and others. Red’s sound is traditional blues, mostly acoustic, with Red playing both acoustic slide guitar and electric slide and occasional blues harp, backed by an all-star band of blues players. Little Victor on 2nd guitar, Bob Corritore on harp, David Maxwell  tickling the keys, Mookie Brill and Bill Troiani on doghouse bass (and what a bass-I am legally and morally obligated to plug the bass players), and Alex Pettersen is keepin’ the beat on skins.

louisiana-red-press-photo_1_small This great trad blues album marks the second release of Louisiana Red and Little Victor’s Juke Joint for Ruf Recordslouisiana-red-press-photo_small.

It’s the follow up to 2009’s To The Black Bayou, which won the Grand Prix Du Disque (The French Grammy), the Record Critic Award of Germany not to mention raves from Down Beat and Rolling Stone magazines.

This album is yet more affirmation of the great southern blues Louisiana Red brings to the world. Check it out America!


The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2011 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

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