Lee Palmer – One Take: Live at Canterbury | Album Review

leepalmercdLee Palmer – One Take: Live at Canterbury
CD: 10 songs; 41:38 Minutes
Styles: Mellow Blues, Blues Rock

On September 11, 2012, Canadian Lee Palmer took a risk, and the stage, as he recorded his debut album “One Take: Live at Canterbury.” In this reviewer’s opinion, it was a gutsy move, as many blues artists choose a studio-polished compilation for their first major release. Nevertheless, “One Take” has paid off, especially on Palmer’s own songs. With him are drummer Al Cross, bassist David Woodhead, Dennis Keldie on five different instruments (Wurlitzer, Hammond, Fender Rhodes, grand piano and accordion), Elmer Ferrer on “electric guitar and sizzling solos,” Jenn Kee on background vocals, and Wendell Ferguson on “bad jokes and great guitar.” Lee’s style is mellow and low-key, suitable for a relaxing evening at home or a casual nightclub. These three original tracks are candidates for listeners’ top picks (of ten total, with covers such as “House of the Rising Sun” and “Everyday Blues Jam”):

Track 01: “Blues in EH” – “That’s a Canadian “E-H,”  eh; I’ve got the blues in EH,” Palmer slyly explains when it comes to this song’s title. At the time, he’s “in Toronto, playing for the dough and all the drinks I can swallow!” One can just imagine the crowd, smiling and putting their feet up on the backs of chairs as they sip coffee or their favorite adult beverages. Several musicians, including David Woodhead on skillful bass, take turns performing fantastic solos without going over the top. 

Track 03: “Me and My 68” – Musicians treasure their instruments, and some even write rock-and-roll love songs about them. Hence Palmer’s ode to his collectible shredder: “Never felt like this before. It’s come together; that’s for sure. I couldn’t ask for anything more – me and my 68!” This is one track on “One Take” that propels partiers onto the dance floor with a vengeance.

Track 09: “Fleas Blues” – With a rolling beat reminiscent of “You’re the One that I Want” in the musical “Grease,” “Fleas Blues” presents an opportunity for everyone to strut their stuff – especially the two smoking guitarists, Palmer and Wendell Ferguson, and Denis Keldie on spicy Zydeco accordion. The chorus is as itchy to one’s ears as certain insects are to the dog in this song: “Blues come tumbling, tumbling down, like rain in a puddle on the ground.” The whole song is infectious enough that it could have been the CD’s finale.

In this album’s liner notes, Lee reveals: “The idea was to get a bunch of great players together, in a great studio, and let it rip. We weren’t going for perfect, just musical, and I believe we accomplished just that.” Indeed they did, and all in “One Take”, too!