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Waiting On the Sun

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Album Review

Some musicians are triple threats, but Studebaker John Grimaldi ups that to quintuple. He's a talented guitarist, harp player, and singer, along with being a more than adequate songwriter and sturdy producer. His tenth release since 1994 is overstuffed with a dozen solid blues-rockers and boogie tunes that maxes out at just over 78 minutes. While a few tracks could perhaps have been pruned and some left off entirely, this is still an exciting, even explosive set that will satiate old fans and might even bring new ones into the fold. Grimaldi expands his basic Chicago electric blues palette by adding organ and especially Latin percussion to a handful of key songs such as the opening eight-minute "Down at the Bottom" and the nearly 12-minute "Follow Your Soul." The results help energize the already spirited proceedings, even if it plants him firmly in classic Santana territory. As usual it's a toss up between whether he's a better harpist or guitarist, in particular when he pulls out his Paul Butterfield/Little Walter styled harmonica on the Chicago shuffle "Tell Me So" and blows tough on the throbbing swamp beat of "Natural Born Boogie," one of this disc's more jaw-dropping performances. Most impressive, though, is that once again these songs raise the lyrical and melodic ante with the midtempo closing title track an album highlight. Vocally Grimaldi falls somewhere between the Fabulous Thunderbirds' Kim Wilson's road hardened croon, and John Hiatt's Midwestern gruffness. His singing is gutsy, impassioned, and far superior to many other guitar slingers that treat vocals as little more than a necessary evil. As producer, he even overdubs his voice occasionally to stirring effect. The result is another quality project from a guy who has a history of remarkably consistent music that displays his many talents. Why he remains under the radar, even in the blues world, is a mystery.


Born: November 05, 1952 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Taking his stage name from an automobile he once owned, Studebaker John Grimaldi was a product of the vibrant blues scene of Chicago's West Side. Born November 5, 1952, his father was himself an amateur musician, and as a youngster, Grimaldi began playing the many instruments lying about the house. Becoming a fixture at the open-air flea markets in the Maxwell Street area -- a venue for countless blues buskers -- he began focusing on harmonica after catching performances from the likes of Little...
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Waiting On the Sun, Studebaker John
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