|Personnel: Elmore James, Jr. (vocals, guitar); Elmore James, Jr.; Jeff Big Dad Turmes (guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, saxophone, bass guitar); Oakland Red, Rick Reed (guitar, bass guitar); Cadillac Zack (guitar); Ron Dziubla (saxophone); Steve F'dor (piano); Steve Mugalian (drums).
|Cut of the same cloth as his famous father, Elmore James, Jr. is a legitimate blues man in the best sense. He plays electric guitar and sings quite well, not with the intensity of his dad, but that shouldn't be expected. What he has become is a seasoned professional with the right attitude, consistently interpreting Chicago-style 12-bar blues without watering it down. In a world where contemporary pop and soul have invaded authentic blues, what James is laying down is definitely the real thing. It's also commendable that he borrows from a repertoire of well-known songs, while adding others that have a certain flair and originality, keeping the fire of his legendary father burning brightly on both ends. James has an excellent group, fired up by saxophonists Jeff Turmes and Ron Dzuibla, bassist Oakland Red, and second guitarist Rick Reed. "The Misfit," with a slight echo on the vocals, is representative of the ramblin' man persona Elmore Sr. portrayed -- like father like son for sure. Cutting loose on the slide guitar, James Jr. does Jimmy Reed's "Oh Baby" and Willie Dixon's "Going Back Home" proud, while the party time, crowd pleasing classic "See See Rider" is cooked by this band to perfection. "Tore Down," made famous by Freddie King, is adapted in a rock/funk vein with three guitars (including Turmes) ripping up this contemporary take on a chestnut. The less familiar tracks include the mojo workin', shuffle based title track, and the "Dust My Broom" sounding "Cummins Prison Farm," both biographical tales of hard life and traditions, the latter tune featuring the best slide work. "I'll Get You" is a slinky, nasty, bompity bomp blues, while "Electric Man" is the quintessential slow blues featuring the tempting lines "I'll plug into your socket, and charge you like no other can." Two Elmore James tunes are included; the good rockin' "Don't Get Mad," and the twangy instrumental "Steppin with Elmo," a "Fannie Mae" type jam. Followers of the blues should be pleased, but not all that surprised at how good James Jr. is, a chip off the old block, but definitely his own man. This recording is recommended without hesitation. ~ Michael G. Nastos