Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Eric Burdon and Jimmy Witherspoon - Soledad Blues [1971]

Blues Brothers

A great pairing for performers who have felt and sung the blues genuinely in their own ways, this is a pleasing rather than brilliant collection. However, it is its relative ordinariness – considering their names and reputations – that makes it so effective. Every track is solid, no more and no less. There are two interesting covers of others’ well-known blues offerings, James Taylor’s Steamroller and John Mayall’s The Laws Must Change. The original album, released in 1971, was titled Guilty and had eleven tracks; this version released in April of last year [though there may have been another earlier compilation/variation] has fourteen tracks, including four live cuts, one of Going Down Slow where Witherspoon introduces Burdon as a gentleman responsible for that great group called War – it’s a damn shame an Englishman had to come all the way from London to get a bunch of soul brothers, you know, and make a big star out of them when nobody in America would touch ‘em. Not the greatest outdoor recording [the wind is a-blowin’] but it’s got character. There’s also a good bar-room version of Chuck Berry’s Have Mercy Judge and some cool wah-wah guitar on Soledad.

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