Lucky 3 Blues Band – Blues Time | Album Review

lucky3bluesbandcdLucky 3 Blues Band – Blues Time

Lucky 3 Records 0002

5 song EP – 19 minutes

Chicago-based Lucky 3 Blues Band follows up their successful 2014 debut album, Howl!, with this brief, but tasty release of five original tunes, all of which have “blues” in their title.

The group consists of three longtime friends from the Windy City music scene who talked for years about starting a group. In the three years since they finally did it, they’ve become fixtures in the Midwest and beyond with their own interpretation of modern Chicago blues.

Jim Desmond delivers the vocals, while Frank Raven, former jam host at Buddy Guy’s Legends bar, contibutes harmonica and Jay O’Rourke, long-time engineer at Alligator Records, produces and adds six-string. Desmond and Raven previously teamed up in the Slammin’ Watusis, a highly popular Chicago band of the ‘90s, while O’Rourke held down lead guitar with B.B. Spin when not adjusting the dials and delivering hit after hit for Alligator, the world’s foremost blues label.

Like their bar sets, the music’s delivered in a stripped-down setting with no additional backup musicians, although an uncredited drum track, possibly electronic, accompanies the tunes.

Desmond’s smoky baritone kicks off the title tune, “Blues Time,” with Raven providing powerful, but clean response on harp. Desmond quickly drops out to give his partners space to solo. The idea: “Give us the time/We’ll blow your mind./It’s blues time, baby.” Raven hit hot spots on the high end of the harp with O’Rourke hitting the low register for “Blues On The Run” before Desmond’s intense message to an ex-love: “Havin’ fun ain’t no sin./Mr. Blues, call me Mr. Rollin’ Pin./Takin’ care of business don’t need 9-1-1/Same old blues are on the run.”

O’Rourke gets to deliver a few guitar pyrotechnics to introduce “Blues Don’t Live Here Anymore,” a short, hard-hitting statement about putting troubles in the past, before the mood shifts from over-the-top to quiet for the slow ballad, “Blues Will Never Leave You.” The pace change is dramatic, with a brief, well-modulated mid-song solo, as the song sings the praises of someone who never wavered in the face of past problems. The in-your-face shuffle, “Blues You Can Lose,” a sour, but sweet reminder that, no matter if you’re up or down, the blues will be forever at your side, helping to make you feel right.

An inexpensive digital download or CD order from any of the major online retailers, this short, but sweet EP would be a welcome addition to the collection of anyone with a taste for Chicago blues done the old-school way.

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