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Hang On!

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Album Review

One of the earliest Bernard Allison albums, recorded in 1992 and reissued in late 2001 (unfortunately complete with its original tacky cover art), is a middling effort from a talented bluesman who hadn't found his niche. Recorded live in the studio with his dad Luther's band in Paris, where they were living at the time, Bernard compensates for his lack of direction by playing very loud and very fast. While the band of pros keeps the music simmering, Allison's gruff voice and aggressive approach make the songs often seem like bluesy Southern rock instead of the electrified Chicago blues that his dad epitomized. Certainly the younger Allison was grieving the then-recent death of Stevie Ray Vaughan, as tunes like "Missing Stevie," the title track (which edges dangerously close to Deep Purple territory), and the closing ten-minute "Voodoo Chile Medley" (which includes excerpts from Lonnie Mack's "Wham" and Vaughan's "Testify") attest. Even his rugged but not totally successful version of "Rockin' Robin" sounds like it was run through the SRV blender, all tough shards of solos and husky vocals twisting the twee radio hit into a boogie-fied romp. There's no doubt the man can play his guitar, as evidenced on the slow blues of "You're Hurting Me," and there are moments of startling intensity here. But the whole doesn't cohere as anything more than a talented guitarist who loves his blues-rawk but hasn't found his own voice yet. Oddly, this quickie reissue with almost no liner notes misspells Don Nix's name (the writer of "Going Down") and more shockingly leaves in a typo that omits a "t" in dad Luther's first name, showing that there was shamefully little time or effort put into this reissue. Still, fans of either father or son of the Allison surname will want to own this, if only as an indication of the raw talent that Bernard would later harness with more skill, creativity, and aplomb.


Born: 26 November 1965 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Blues

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

Bernard Allison is the guitar-playing, singing, and songwriting son of late legendary blues guitarist Luther Allison. True to form for this chip off the old block, the young Allison injects every bit as much energy into his live shows as his father did. Bernard counts among his influences icons like Albert King, Muddy Waters, and Freddie King, and later, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Johnny Winter. He began accompanying his famous father to blues festivals in the early '70s. There, he was introduced to...
Full bio
Hang On!, Bernard Allison
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