Willie Dixon’s Original Chicago Blues All Stars Inc. – Gold
23 songs time-CD 1-61:38 CD 2-54:27
The members of Willie Dixon’s band got together for a live reunion at two different venues to bring a dose of authentic blues. Time has been kind to these gents as their playing is fresh and vibrant. Guitarist John Watkins shows his playing is intact. He along with Willie Dixon’s son Freddie Dixon handle most of the vocals. Arthur Dixon provides fine organ playing, although it veers a bit towards overkill as it appears on every track. Classic blues didn’t feature organ as prominently. Dr. Jimmy Tillman I occupies the drummer position as well as providing vocals on one song. The repertoire encompasses many blues classics along with a handful of original compositions.
Many blues icons’ music is covered here with the strange exception of Howlin’ Wolf. John Watkins and Freddie Dixon sing the lion’s share of the songs with conviction and fitting blues voices. Dr. Jimmy Tillman does the honors on his original soul tune “I Love You More Than Words Could Ever Say”. John Watkins’ guitar playing is inventive and fresh throughout while remaining true to traditional blues guitar. “Original Chicago Blues All Stars Theme” features Watkins on Elmore James style slide guitar. My favorite tracks include Sonny Boy Williams II’s “Eyesight To The Blind”, “Just A Little Bit”, and Freddie King’s “I’m Tore Down”. There are no bum tracks here.
The musicianship throughout is first rate. These seasoned blues vets surely have a strong grasp of the blues. The bass and drums are rock solid and Arthur Dixon is a talented organist. Willie Dixon only has two songs included. The band does justice to the blues tradition. They commit themselves naturally to many blues styles.
This CD isn’t a museum piece, rather a nod and homage to this great American music. A brief history lesson in blues music is presented here in a very enjoyable way. These guys still have it and you need to get it.