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If You Love Me

J. B. Lenoir

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In retrospect, J.B. Lenoir's finest albums are the last two he recorded before his death in 1967, Alabama Blues (1965) and Down in Mississippi (1966) (both are combined on an absolutely essential single disc from Evidence called Vietnam Blues), which together outlined the path Lenoir hoped the blues would take. Stripped-down, acoustic, intelligent, and fiercely political, Lenoir's final recordings are a far cry (at least on first hearing) from his 1950s material collected here. Drawn from his 1951-1953 stay at JOB Records, his single year at Parrot Records (1954-1955), and his 1955 to 1958 tenure at Checker Records, If You Love Me shows a younger, looser Lenoir heavily under the influence of Jimmy Reed, albeit a bit more peppy. Lenoir's affinity for subtle, clever lyrics is evident on some of the songs here, including two of his best, "Mama Talk to Your Daughter," which is both humorous and poignant, and "Eisenhower Blues," which is bold and political, and everything skips along in a jittery blues boogie direction, given ballast by the twin saxophone work of Ernest Cotton (tenor) and Alex Atkins (alto). It adds up to some intriguing music, but lacks the hard, clear, and innovative vision of his final work, although it'll get your feet tapping, which is always the first step toward going somewhere new.


Född: 05 mars 1929 i Monticello, MS

Genre: Blues

Aktiva år: '50s, '60s, '70s

Newcomers to his considerable legacy could be forgiven for questioning J.B. Lenoir's gender upon first hearing his rocking waxings. Lenoir's exceptionally high-pitched vocal range is a fooler, but it only adds to the singular appeal of his music. His politically charged "Eisenhower Blues" allegedly caused all sorts of nasty repercussions upon its 1954 emergence on Al Benson's...
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If You Love Me, J. B. Lenoir
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