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Album Review

The association seems unusual at first glance, but Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater's roots rock and blues backed by Los Straitjackets' twangy surf results in a potent combination. Other than the participants' colorful choice of headgear, this joint venture urges Clearwater to his most rocking and uninhibited studio performances, while expanding his stylistic boundaries. Never a straight bluesman, the Chief's Chuck Berry tendencies are well established. But even though he tosses off another in a long line of Berry-esque rockers with a "Johnny B. Goode"-heavy "Hillbilly Blues," this album explores his non-blues roots more thoroughly. The opening cover of "You're Humbuggin' Me" kicks things off with a blast of '50s Little Richard abandon. Elsewhere, he moves into spaghetti Western, reverbed instrumental/rockabilly waters — no doubt provoked by the Straitjackets — on "Monkey Paw." Clearwater also tosses in a few Ray Charles-styled R&B '50s nuggets in "I Love You" and "Before This Song Is Over," both originals that sound like authentic lost gems due partially to Dennis Taylor's tough tenor sax. New Orleans rhythms rule on Clearwater's cover of Fats Domino's "Let the Four Winds Blow," and he hits an easygoing rockabilly vibe on "Midnight Groove," another horn and guitar-driven burner. "Back Down to Earth" also mixes swamp soul with country blues in an intoxicating blend. Closing with "Good Times Are Coming," a six-minute gospel-tinged slow blues with only a lonely organ as accompaniment, brings Clearwater full circle and ends the album on its mellowest note. The guitarist sounds jovial and inspired throughout, trading licks with Los Straitjackets' Eddie Angel and Danny Amis and singing with an upbeat affability that makes it sound as if he's in your living room. With its diverse menu and crackling performances, Rock 'n' Roll City demonstrates that Eddy Clearwater excels at far more than his existing catalog indicates.

Rock 'n' Roll City, Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Blues, Music, Rock
  • Released: 12 August 2003

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