Guitar Shorty: Bare Knuckle (Alligator)

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Guitar Shorty: Please Mr President
Guitar Shorty: Bare Knuckle (Alligator)

They used to say “when the times get tough, the songs get soft” – but hard times is good times for the blues which articulates the concerns of the downtrodden.

And the US economic downturn means hard times which this 70-year old, electric and electrifying guitarist/singer from Texas (on a Chicago label) addresses bluntly in the opener Please Mr President (“lay some stimulus on me”) and picks up on a more personal level in the gritty Too Hard to Love You (“I just can't make enough money for you . . I work all day like a prisoner”).

Elsewhere he (rather too often) nails customary blues concerns of cheatin' women (The Sting, True Lies, Too Late, Betrayal) which he delivers with anger and agony while peeling off white-heat guitar solos in the manner of the T Bone Walker-Hendrix-Stevie Ray Vaughan lineage.

Slow Burn is menacing post-Iraq blues about the lack of work opportunities for returned troops (“so you start to give in to the rage again”) and Texas Women is a raunchy salute to those hard-to-tame gals who “deep down just need a real man”.

This is unashamedly tough, hard drinking, urban blues and Shorty's urgent guitar and vocals make this compelling and contemporary.

The blues has seldom sounded so necessary than when this man is unleashed on a lousy economy and worse women.

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Relic - Apr 19, 2010

The blues had a baby and they named it rock ’n’ roll, and a score more deadly spawn besides, but some bluesman always waits patiently in the backroom for that call from the music fan caught short. (no pun etc.)

Bruce Iglauer “done well” to keep Alligator going all these years.

clive - Apr 19, 2010

G,you did not mention that Shoety was married to Jimi's half or step sister.Cant wait to get this one,the 2 previous CDS were brilliant.


Relic - Jun 12, 2010

Had a major party last weekend and people just loved Guitar Shorty, which I played between vinyl record interludes, heh, I always wondered how Alligator Records were going to keep it happening over the years after the intial launch via the manic minimalist Hound Dog Taylor & the House Rockers. They sure do their best. Shorty has a lovely rotund sound, reminiscent lyrically of Gary US Bonds “comeback” records in some ways.

On the night even the kids used to todays ‘digital soup’ sound liked Shorty. (I let ’em sneak on some dub step and Kid Cuddy when they thought the oldies weren’t looking). Rolling Stones-“Sucking int the 70s” at 5am for the adults.

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