Get ready for Hurricane Sue! Singer-Songwriter-Guitarist Sue Foley’s the real deal. She may be Canadian but she’s paid her dues in Austin and she can sting that Fender Telecaster that she calls Pinky like it’s an extension of her body. The lady packs a wallop vocally too. The Ice Queen brought her national acclaim in 2018. Pinky’s Blues is even better. As produced by keyboardist Mike Flanigin (from the bands of Billy T Gibbons and Jimmie Vaughan), it’s a lean machine, devoid of fat, every note meaningful.
It’s a Tulsa thing, man. The nine tracks of Flathead (Horton Records), by Seth Lee Jones, were crafted and shaped in under eight hours in a Tulsa studio on a Tulsa label after gigging at a Tulsa club with nary an edit nor overdub. It’s pure electricity. They cover Roger Miller and Tulsa bluesman Steve Pryor (who perished on his motorcycle in 2016) as well as Ray Charles’ 1956 “Mary Ann,” Muddy Waters’ 1948 “I Can’t Be Satisfied, and the 1978 Don Williams hit “Tulsa Time.” Bassist Bo Hallford and drummer Matt Teagarden prove the perfect foil for singer/songwriter/guitarist/luthier SLJ and the whole thing sounds like a party.
Long lost to the dustbin of time, this 1983 Los Angeles live set at Club 88, by Lowell Fulson with Jeff Dale & The Blue Wave Band, resurrects a blues legend at 62 fronting kids 40 years younger whose energy, dedication and chops are instantly obvious. During the pandemic, he had the time to scrounge through boxes of tapes and unearthed this gem.
Lowell Fulson [1921-1999] came roaring out of Oklahoma to become—along with T-Bone Walker—the leading proponent of the West Coast blues style, which always harbored a little more jazz within its grooves than other geographical locales. Ray Charles came out of Fulson’s band. Fulson wrote hits for BB King and Otis Redding and had a string of hits of his own that have now become classics, many of which he reprises here. Freddie King, Gregg Allman, Elvis Presley, Ike & Tina and Bobby Blue Bland have all recorded his songs.
Jeff Dale has had a long and illustrious career with both David “Honeyboy” Edwards [1915-2011], known during his late-life renaissance as the last living original Delta bluesmen, and Fulson. Nowadays, Dale, from Chicago, has morphed into being that which he first emulated.
Jimmy Reed Rocks on Bear Family Productions’ 29-track compilation of the Mississippi legend’s many hits that we all know from Elvis Presley, Rolling Stones, Jimmy Vaughan, Yardbirds, Van Morrison, Grateful Dead and Steve Miller. Bob Dylan’s “Goodbye Jimmy Reed” song sums it all up. The man was the most iconic blues cat of them all, slurring his words in a drunken lust, sipping from his bottle of hooch in the studio, yet making instant anthems such as “Baby What You Want Me To Do,” “Bright Lights Big City,” “Big Boss Man” and so many others. He kept on even after epilepsy robbed him of his coordination, and died in 1976 at the age of 50 from respiratory failure. Hundreds of years from now, folks will still be singing his songs.
The Mojo Man Presents Solider Boy (Koko Mojo Records) has Guitar Slim, Lloyd Price, JB Lenoir, Jerry Butler, The Shirelles, Brownie McGhee, Lightnin’ Slim, Muddy Waters, Big Bill Broonzy, Hot Lips Page, Jimmy Witherspoon, Big-Boy Crudup, Ella Fitzgerald and 15 others—including a highlight track by Wee Bea Booze called “Uncle Sam Come And Get Him”—all about getting drafted, leaving your love, being lonely, and coming home from the war. Having lived in an era where I could’ve been drafted into fighting an illegal and immoral war in Southeast Asia, I know for a fact that the blues doesn’t get any bluesier than this.