Monday, August 2, 2010

Willie Buck, Chicago Bluesmaster

We should try and honor those Chicago bluesmen who are still around, active and dynamic. Willie Buck may not be a name you are familiar with, but he's the real deal. In 1982 his album I Wanna Be Loved came out in a small run on Bar None Records. It came and went before it had a chance to get wide distribution or acclaim. Now it's back in print as The Life I Love (Delmark 805) with five live unissued tracks from the period.

This is Chicago blues at its down home, soulful best. Buck has Muddy Waters' directness and drive and his vocals get inside the lyrics and push them out in the best blues tradition. He has a terrific band behind him, including John Primer and Louis Meyers on guitar, Dave Meyers on bass, the late Big Moose Walker on piano and they tear it up. Muddy's "She's All Right" gets the treatment, and so does "19 Years Old." There are good originals too.

The live tracks add to the confirmation that Willie Buck is keeping the flame alive. If you love the classic Chicago sound, here it is! No warts, just the slow burn of the tradition, generating the heat that heals the soul.

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