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Gettin' My Groove Back

Elvin Bishop

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Album Review

Gettin' My Groove Back, the first new studio album from Elvin Bishop in five years, and the first since his daughter Selina was murdered in 2000, is an understandingly split affair, part catharsis as he deals with his tragic loss, and part the kind of rocking party record that has been Bishop's trademark in the past. Needless to say, the two parts don't necessarily fit together that well, and while Bishop's stinging guitar playing bridges the gap somewhat, it is the ragged, angry lead track, "What the Hell Is Going On," and the harrowing "Come on Blues," which features Bishop solo with just an electric guitar, that linger in the mind when this set concludes, making tracks like "Party Til the Cows Come Home" seem criminally frivolous. That said, the goofy, washboard-driven "He's a Dog" is a hillbilly delight, while an instrumental version of Don Gibson's "Sweet Dreams" features some absolutely wonderful and emotionally powerful slide guitar work from Bishop, who obviously understands that the blues is, among other things, a kind of therapy. There was probably no way for Bishop to avoid the kind of emotional split apparent in this set, and while party songs about when the cows come home have their place, particularly as part of a live show, a track like "What the Hell Is Going On" asks the exact right question and ought to be all over the radio. That it isn't — and won't be —is an indictment of the times. It's a great song, and since it leads off this album, it casts a giant shadow over everything that follows it. Everyone — not just Bishop — desperately needs the answer to the question it asks.

Biography

Born: 21 October 1942 in Glendale, CA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A veteran guitarist who fused the blues with gospel, R&B, and country traditions, Elvin Bishop was born in Glendale, CA, on October 21, 1942. He grew up on a farm in Iowa with no electricity or running water, and eventually moved to Oklahoma with his family when he was ten. Raised in an all-White community, his only exposure to African-American traditions was the radio, which introduced him to the sounds of blues stations in Shreveport, LA. The piercing sound of Jimmy Reed's harmonica won his...
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Gettin' My Groove Back, Elvin Bishop
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