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Bad News Is Coming (Remastered)

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Album Review

The very thing that made Luther Allison noteworthy became an albatross around his neck. Years after his initial run of records in the '70s, he was known for the same thing he was at the time — he was the only blues artist on Gordy, or any Motown affiliated label. This was true and novel, but many focused on the novelty, not the truth, ignoring Allison's status as a terrific torchbearer of raw Chicago blues. Some of material illustrates some contemporary influence — dig that funky groove and organ on "Raggedy and Dirty," or the rock-oriented slow burn of Mel London's "Cut You A-Loose" — but as his original title track illustrates, he can also deliver a torturous, impassioned slow grind. Still, this isn't an album about originality, it's a record how tradition can remain alive in a contemporary setting. Apart from the slightly cleaner production and the extended running time, this could have been released 15 years earlier, since its heart is in classic Chicago blues, particularly Chess. He draws on Willie Dixon via Howlin' Wolf for the first two tracks, dipping into Elmore James and B.B. King's catalogs later on in the record. This accounts for over half of the album's running time, and every one of these tunes are familiar — and, for good measure, he dips into "Spoonful" on "Cut You A-Loose" — but what matters is Allison's performance, which is never less than committed and usually gripping. And that's what makes this record work — it's firmly on familiar territory, but Allison gives it his own personality through the sheer strength of his love for this music. Perhaps that doesn't make for a revolutionary debut — it's not a visionary record the way, say, Magic Sam's West Side Soul is — but that would come later. With Bad News Is Coming, Luther Allison just delivered one of the best straight-ahead Chicago blues records of the early '70s. Too bad everybody thought of it as a little folly on Motown. [Allison and producer Joe Peraino cut a lot of material during these sessions, and four of the best of these outtakes — the original "It's Been a Long Time," plus versions of "The Stumble," "Sweet Home Chicago," and "Take My Love (I Want to Give It All to You)" — appeared on Universal/Motown's excellent 2001 reissue. There's really no difference in quality with these cuts; they simply couldn't fit on the original, but thanks to the expanded time of a CD, there's four other first-class cuts to savor on this fine modern blues platter.]

Customer Reviews

Bad News to others.....This is one of the top Greatest Blues

This is one of the greatest blues Cd's ever...Flat out 5 star classic. Anyone who wants to start listening to the blues, go out and get this. Grab a chair, a beer and relax and listen to one the Chicago's shredders. Luther, Buddy Guy, Son Seals and Magic Sam ruled this era and this CD is one of the finest I haver ever heard!

Don't Forget This Man...

Luther Allison live was a force of nature. This studio recording captures an awful lot of that energy. I was on hand for one of his last bar gigs (at the legendary Zoo Bar in Lincoln, NE) and it was clear this guy was going out of this world with nothing but searing energy. He's a blues classic.

"Listen; Baby!"

,,"I Can't Cut You Loose!"..{ I had the rare pleasure of interviewing Luther Allison @ 1973 at The Jazz Eporium Club in Beverly; Mass.; for my College Newspaper! We rapped about "The Three Kings" (Albert, Freddie & B.B.) And other influences on his unique style of playing-Great Show-Great Night!} We followed his career when he went over to France & Then again when he triumphantly returned Home for a few more good years of "Flash & Fire!" Dig again the "Baddest Blues" of: Litttle Red Rooster; Take My Love; Bad News Is Coming & Raggedy And Dirty! ( His son; Luther Allison; Jr.; is carrying on the Family Tradition!) "It's Been A Long Time" since we've heard the Blues this "Raw & Real!"-Rockin! Grimmbo.


Born: August 17, 1939 in Widener, AR

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

An American-born guitarist, singer, and songwriter who lived in France since 1980, Luther Allison was the man to book at blues festivals in the mid-'90s. Allison's comeback into the mainstream was ushered in by a recording contract with an American record company, Chicago-based Alligator Records. After he signed with Alligator in 1994, Allison's popularity grew exponentially and he worked steadily until his death in 1997. Born August 17, 1939, in Widener, AR, Allison was the 14th of 15 children,...
Full Bio
Bad News Is Coming (Remastered), Luther Allison
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