11 songs time-57:03
I’m not familiar with Lucky’s previous catalog, but there isn’t much in the way of blues here. Much of what is here could serve as background music for a noisy party. I know him from backing various blues artists, enough to know that he is a major talent. He has a good voice and his guitar and organ skills are beyond reproach. The liner notes don’t get specific as to which guitarist is playing what and where as Shawn Kellerman is the second guitarist. Who ever it may be at any given is right on the mark. The production is clear and crisp. The whole project just seems to lack direction. Perhaps they should of waited until they had more in the way of solid material. You get the feeling that everyone is having a good time, but there is a lack of substance. That being said, there are some shining moments.
One would think that a song entitled “Blues In My Blood” would be a blues. You would be wrong. It’s a funk-soul jam with random guitar underneath. The lyric consists mostly of the title being repeated over and over. They manage to take the funk out of the vocal on “Funky Broadway”, although the funk is definitely there in the music. A talked “vocal” throughout really creates a mess.
The sound of ladder-day Carlos Santana guitar gives the uplifting instrumental “Nana Jarnell” life. It is one of the highpoints of the recording. The faithful rendering of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s classic “I Pity The Fool” is the best of the few blues offerings here. “Boogie-Woogie Blues Joint Party” sounds just like what the title implies.
We’re given two versions of “I’m Still Here”. The first is taken as a slow soul song and the second is a gospel version. They are both from a long line of “looking back on my life” songs and are a bit of a yawn. Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” gets a funk treatment and pretty much loses it’s catchy melody.
The shining moment for me comes when Lucky’s wife and daughter lend their beautiful voices to the acoustic country blues-ish “Joy”, only to have Lucky come in talking to interrupt the goodness. These ladies need to put out their own records. Another highlight is the jazzy organ and horn driven instrumental “You Lucky Dog”. It also features some tough guitar playing.
Top-notch musicians like these deserve to be given more structured songs to lend their skills to. Lucky is obviously in possession of guitar, organ and vocal skills. Perhaps looking towards outside material and a producer to give more direction would result in a better foundation to build upon. The musicianship isn’t in question. The band certainly has the right tools for the job.