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New Elvin Bishop record relives vintage music

Songs relive decades with Bishop’s beloved axe, from blues to gospel.

Elvin Bishop
Red Dog Speaks
Delta Groove (DGPCD138)
Grade: ★★★★


By Bruce Sylvester

As ardent Elvin Bishop fans know, Red Dog is his cherry-red ’59 Gibson stereo ES 345 guitar. The title track, “Red Dog Speaks” (one of several tongue-in-cheek autobiographical cuts) relives decades with Bishop’s beloved axe. “Fat And Sassy” chomps into some of his favorite culinary diversions now that his drug, drink and tobacco days are gone. (Instrumental “Barbecue Boogie” follows appropriately.) “Clean Livin’” — with screeching slide notes — involves his various bygone vices and what few fortunately remain.

A vintage blues-R&B aficionado, Bishop digs up Otis Spann, Leroy Carr and traditional gospel numbers. “Doo-Wop Medley,” a slightly languid instrumental, has surf undertones. The disc was recorded in his northern California studio except for “Blues Cruise,” a jam including guitarist Ronnie Baker Brooks and accordionist Buckwheat Zydeco. You can guess where it was done.

For related items that you may enjoy in our Goldmine store:
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• Get the new John Lennon book: "John Lennon: Life is What Happens, Music, Memories & Memorabilia"

Get the closest thing to the full Woodstock experience with the book "Woodstock Peace, Music & Memories."