David Lumsden & Friends – Hues of the Blues
The former Hurricane Ruth guitar player David Lumsden ventures out on his own after spending 2011 to 2017 with Ruth. He brings together a group of friends to support him as guest artists with these 12 songs.
Lumsden became enamored with music at age six with “Peter Gunn” theme. He got his first guitar at ten and followed the British Invasion bands like The Yardbirds. By age fifteen (1970) he heard Freddie King’s “Getting Ready” album and the blues have been his love ever since.
Backing Lumsden are a variety of folks including Tim Bahn on organ, Wayne Carter on keys, Ezra Casey on piano/keys/organ, Gary Davis on keys and bass, Rick Leigh on bass, and Arthur Carey Sr. and Jim Engel on drums. Guest artists and co-songwriters are noted with the songs.
“You Got To Lose” opens the album, an Earl Hooker cut. Lumsden plays some nice guitar and sings with a little grit as he offers a stinging rendition of the song. Bill Evans shares in the vocals and guitars on “Further On Up The Road,” a Don Robey song first recorded by Bobby “Blue” Bland. His vocals are completely gritty and dark and his guitar has a different but equally interesting tone. It’s an interesting duet. Wayne Carter supplies the vocals for “You’re Ruining My Bad Reputation,” a Z.Z. Hill song penned by Denise Lasalle. Carter has been at his craft since the 1960s and sings Chicago Blues with style and Lumsden lays out great licks on the slide guitar. Next is “Brush With The Blues,” a down tempo Jeff Beck instrumental recorded live in Decatur, IL at Pop’s Place. Interesting, sublime and quite the finger twister and Lumsden is up to the task. The classic “What’s The Matter With The Mill” features Reggie Britton on vocals and drums. The tune jumps and jukes with honky-tonk piano, organ, pretty harp work by Steve “The Harp” Mehlberg (who also helps on backing vocals) and a swinging beat. Mary Jo Curry sings and help co-write “Raised Me Right” and Lumsden plays some dirty slide. Curry belts out the vocals with attitude and passion; well done!
Mehlberg wrote “On Bended Knee” and does the vocals and harp while his wife Deborah backs him on vocals. It’s a cool little shuffle with dirty harp and a cool sound. Carter returns for “The Thrill Is Gone,” a take on the B.B. King Classic. Lumsden gives the guitar work his own approach and Carter wails the lead vocals with emotion and also plays some piano. The 1963 Ricky Allen cut written by Mel London and covered by Otis Rush and dozens of others gets a fresh coat of paint with a little variety in the guitar licks. Mehlberg fronts the band as Lumsden plays some pretty guitar and Steve gives us more harp to savor. “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” is Lumsden with just bass and drums. He opens with a long guitar intro and then when you are looking for the vocals he turns the entire thing into an instrumental; an interesting take for sure. He gets into a little shredding late in the cut but pulls off a very different cover. Carter returns on vocals and piano again for “Georgia On My Mind” and they offer a good little and soulful rendition with sweet piano and guitar. The CD closes with Led Zeppelin’s instrumental “Rain Song” with Lumsden on acoustic guitar and Andon Davis on slide. Chicagoan Davis and Lumsden show restraint and it’s a pretty close to an album with some nice variety.
Hues of Blues is an interesting set of tunes with a few well crafted originals and a set of covers showing originality and imagination. Lumsden’s guitar work for the vast majority of the album is not overdone or overstated. His vocals are good and the artists who sing on the other cuts all add dimension and make for good diversification. There is nothing not to like here; kudos to Lumsden for self-producing and releasing a fine album than makes for a great listen!