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The Blues Never Die!

Otis Spann

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Album Review

Boasting fellow Chicago blues dynamo James Cotton on both harmonica and lead vocals, The Blues Never Die! is one of Otis Spann's most inspired albums. When this session was recorded for Prestige's Bluesville subsidiary in 1964, Spann was still best known for playing acoustic piano in Muddy Waters' band. But The Blues Never Die! (which Fantasy reissued on CD in 1990 on its Original Blues Classics imprint) shows that he was as great a leader as he was a sideman. From Willie Dixon's "I'm Ready" (a Chess gem Spann had played numerous times with Waters) and Elmore James' "Dust My Broom" to Cotton's spirited "Feelin' Good" and Spann's dark-humored "Must Have Been the Devil," Spann and Cotton enjoy a very strong rapport on this consistently rewarding date.

Biography

Born: March 21, 1930 in Jackson, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '50s, '60s

An integral member of the nonpareil Muddy Waters band of the 1950s and '60s, pianist Otis Spann took his sweet time in launching a full-fledged solo career. But his own discography is a satisfying one nonetheless, offering ample proof as to why so many aficionados considered him then and now Chicago's leading post-war blues pianist. Spann played on most of Waters' classic Chess waxings between 1953 and 1969, his rippling 88s providing the drive on Waters' seminal 1960 live version...
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The Blues Never Die!, Otis Spann
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