Guitarist Luther Badman Keith is back with a new recording full of spirited original material that melds traditional blues rhythms with lyrics that explore a number of contemporary issues, including some regarding his Detroit hometown. His backing band consists of Todd Glass on drums, Alex Lyon on bass, Josh Ford on slide and rhythm guitar, and Jim David on keyboards.
The leader’s exuberant vocal style fires up the opening track, “Wow Oui Ole,” blues in three languages with Billy Furman on tenor sax adding an additional boost. “Blues 2.0” is another humorous tune that takes a look at modern relationships as filtered through technology. Keith takes his time on the solo, exhibiting a clean fluid style. Furman and trumpeter Mark Croft also get chance to blow hearty solos. The up-tempo shuffle, “Omelet,”gives David some space and he dazzles with some piano magic while Keith keeps things loose and limber with an infectious delivery of the play-on-words lyrics.
The singer’s voice takes on a grittier tone that matches Ford’s slide licks on “Muddy Waters Blues”. The title track rolls along with horn accents backing another strong vocal from Keith describing his experiences as a blues musician, complete with another noteworthy guitar foray and a funky closing passage. “Last Call For The Blues” examines the palpable desperation of the late-night bar patrons, with Keith observing, “Talking to a girl over whiskey & beer – we both trying to fake a little cheer. She’s not too pretty but, you know, neither am I. We just want to try to get through the night.”
Keith pays his respects to some of the legendary blues artists on “Muddy Waters Blues,” complete with Ford’s wicked slide riffs. Furman plays harp on that cut as well as “Mojo Son,” where his hard blowing prompts one Keith’s best guitar solos. Another highlight is the leader’s fiery playing on “Detroit Blues,” a high-powered lamentation of the problems facing his hometown. Keith’s voice and guitar break it down on “Baby Walks Out,” reminding listeners what it feels like when the blues come calling.
A couple of tracks, “Bluesman Looking For Love” and “Room In My Heart,” have generic lyrics but pack quite a musical punch, especially the former that features a great exchange between Keith’s guitar and David on organ. “Blue-B-Que” is an instrumental that gives the two horn players and the rhythm section one last opportunity to impress. It all adds up to a disc that offers plenty of straight-ahead blues that come to life due to Keith’s energetic performances.