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CD REVIEW -- Linsey Alexander



Been There Done That

Delmark Records

12 tracks/62:32

Linsey Alexander CD art

by Harmonica Joe

Delmark Records has just done another fine job with the release of Linsey Alexander’s CD Been There Done That. Alexander is truly a blues icon having playing the music his own way for many decades now. Born in Mississippi and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Linsey left the South to head for Chicago to play the blues. After playing the South Side for many years, he now has been a staple on the North Side in clubs like Kingston Mines, B.L.U.E.S. and Blue Chicago for nearly two decades. The guitarist/singer/songwriter has played with many of the blues greats including Buddy Guy, A.C. Reed, Magic Slim and B.B. King to name just a few. Over the years he has released several CDs on his own and now with the debut of Been There Done That on Delmark, blues fans the world over will know just what Linsey Alexander is all about.


Joining Alexander on this recording we have Roosevelt Purifoy on piano and organ, Greg McDaniel on bass, James Wilson on drums and Billy Branch blowing harp on three tunes. Add the horns of Ryan Nyther (trumpet) and Bryan Fritz (sax) plus Mike Wheeler and Fabrizio “Breezy” Rodio adding rhythm and solo guitar, and we have a great nine-piece band for this CD. This whole recording was basically recorded as is with just a few guitar over-dubs. Alexander either wrote or co-wrote (with Sharon Pomaville) 11 of the 12 tunes.


Right from the start with a blues shuffle, “Raffle Ticket”, I know that I am in for a real treat of Chicago blues. Billy Branch walks us into the tune with some of his awesome harp playing as “Hoochie Man” Alexander takes over with his powerful blues vocals. Behind all of this fine stuff is Purifoy pounding the ivories as James Wilson and Greg McDaniel keep the blues train running down the track. Linsey also showcases his guitar style with a couple of solos. This is really a great tune to open with on the CD.


“Been There Done That” takes us to that smooth place of rhythm & blues and features Purifoy on organ and the horns of Nyther and Fritz. Here Linsey give us the chance to just kick back and take in his voice and lyrics. In the same mode, he takes on the Willie Kent tune, “Looks Like It’s Going To Rain”. This is a swell tribute to his now departed long time friend. Alexander showcases his Willie Kent style vocals and some Albert King sounding guitar work on this track. Also standing out here is Purifoy on keys and the tasteful horns in the background.


If you have a craving for some awesome harmonica licks, you can listen over and over to Billy Branch on “My Mama Gave Me The Blues”. This is truly some great stuff and what blues harp is all about. Good job Billy!  The Alexander’s vocals and guitar work are powerful on this slow blues tune. This, to me, is the best song on the disc.


Linsey Alexander has nailed the true meaning of the blues with this project. He does the blues his way and it is nothin’ but the blues.  Been There Done That is over an hour of blues pleasure performed by one fine group of musicians. Having reviewed several CDs in the recent past that just barely touch upon the genre of the blues, I consider this a real treat to enjoy.

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