Vance Kelly – Live At Kingston Mines | Album Review

vancekellycdVance Kelly – Live At Kingston Mines

Wolf Records

13 tracks

Vance Kelly has nine Wolf Record releases blending blues, soul and R&B. With this, his second live effort on CD, Vance lets it all hang out and puts on an energetic show with his band and with a special appearance by his daughter Vivian Vance Kelly.

Live At Kingston Mines offers up Chicago blues classics in a live performance at one of Chicago’s classic (albeit at times tourist oriented) clubs. A protégé of Buddy Scott and Little Johnny Christian, Vance has fine tuned his craft since he picked up a guitar at age seven. He entered and escaped the disco scene and became part of A.C. Reed’s band prior to venturing out on his own. His first Wolf release was recognized by Living Blues Magazine as best contemporary CD of 1994. Since releasing Call Me, Vance has given us seven more CDs prior to this one.

Vance does not blaze any new paths for us here, but offers up blues and soul classics that please the crowd at Kingston Mines.  They will also please fans of the Chicago blues scene who enjoy hearing them done right.  Blues like “Ain’t Gonna Worry About Tomorrow” pays tribute to his mentor Johnny Christian are the majority of cuts here while soul tunes like “Members Only” (a Malaco Records hit by Bobby Bland) provide a cool counterpoint to the blues.

Ballads like that and “I’ll Play the Blues For You,” slow blues like the stuff he does by Jimmy Reed along with big rocking tunes like “Let The Good Times Roll” and “Mustang Sally” show us his range and the diversity of styles he is comfortable with. “Clean Up Woman” features his daughter on vocals; she is an exemplary singer and performer in her own right and she does a bang up job here, too.

Anyone needing a fix of straight up Chicago blues done by a “second generation” Chicago blues artist will enjoy this set. Along with Vance and his daughter there is Jowynne Scott on bass, Tyrone Mitchell on drums, Delby Littlejohn on keys and Ethel Reed on percussion and backing vocals. While there is nothing new here, the performance is energizing and fun; it offers the listener a window into the realm of the big Northside Chicago blues clubs of today.

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