Blues House Productions
the denizens of Chicago's storied Blues clubs, John Primer is a familiar
face, reliable and true. But to a worldwide audience, as an ambassador
of the Blues, he has defined and epitomized the idiom as a bandleader
and the sideman of choice. He possesses a depth of understanding of the
genre’s subtleties and nuance that only a handful of artists can lay
claim to. Primer is truly world class, and
All Original, his first CD
release for Blues House Production, is evidence that he is an artist in
his prime, who has recorded a powerful set of sides that play like a
soundtrack of Chicago; gritty and heartfelt, with a beat that swings to
the pulse of our great city.
is an apt name for this collection of self-penned titles from Primer,
which showcases his dominion over a variety of Blues styles. Leading off
is the loping, casual box shuffle “Add a Little Touch”, which could be
the archetypal example of this particular style of blues. “Add A Little
Touch” reinforces its signature guitar figure throughout the song
against the swinging pocket rhythms of Vernon Rodgers’ bouncing snare
and Michael Morrison’s bass. It is a very infectious track, weaving
greazy Hammond B3 and urban harmonica licks throughout, courtesy David
Ross and Melvin “Harmonica” Hinds, respectively. Although Primer’s lead
guitar is not always the primary focus, it’s his steady foundation that
the band feeds on.
next cut, “Going Back to Mississippi” is a classic broom-duster shuffle,
with Primer’s vocal performance taking center stage. It’s very
satisfying to hear an artist sing about “going to Mississippi” after
they’ve actually been born there! When John sings about the South being
where he belongs, the conviction, passion and authenticity of his vocal
is evident. Next up, the slow slide guitar workout “I Called My Baby”,
evokes the delivery and tones of golden period Elmore without sounding
derivative or rote. His complete mastery of slide guitar is on display
here, with Primer pulling haunting and memorable melodies out of the
guitar while his plaintive vocal reminds the listener of the daily
struggles of Men, Women and Love.
“Everyday Makes a Change”, “Blue Eyed Woman”, “Say Yes, Don’t Say No”
and “Keep on Lovin’ the Blues” all speak to Primer’s respect for Muddy
Waters’ ensemble style, and here his peerless pedigree is on full
display. On “Other Man’ and “The Woman I’m Loving”, Primer’s single
string prowess is featured, mixing West Side and Soul grooves to the
palette. Three decades and thousands of gigs spent with Willie Dixon,
Muddy Waters and Magic Slim wear themselves well here; it’s quite clear
that Primer knows this material from its source.
Home Alone” is a slow, late night grinder that weaves its minor-key
melodies seamlessly; Primer’s sinewy guitar lines coax and lead Hinds’
chromatic trills and Ross’s rich, satisfying B3 work.
Closing All Original is the
country blues “Love In My Heart For You”. Primer and his acoustic
guitar, accompanied by Hinds on harmonica, deviate from the preceding
urban blues styles; instead he mines the prewar Delta styles that
obviously resonate deeply in his heart.
in addition to its exceptional performances, is also a treat to listen
to. The production quality is quite frankly remarkable for a Blues
release; the instruments are open and extended in the mix and individual
definition and clarity are outstanding. When listening at volume through
a “reference sound system”, the feeling of “being there” is very
convincing. It’s as if you spent the night listening to the world’s best
blues at Theresa’s, Rosa’s or the Mines, only in your living room. This
is John Primer’s All Original
gift to the Blues Community. One
of the best Blues releases of a generation!
A must have!
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