Luther Allison: Songs From the Road (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

 |   |  1 min read

Luther Allison: Low Down and Dirty
Luther Allison: Songs From the Road (Ruf/Yellow Eye)

It's a peculiar thing, but the music which gave the world rock'n'roll and rock as we know it -- the blues, in case you missed the connection -- seems utterly marginalised in the media.

Even more odd is that when the best blues musicians -- and even some fairly indifferent ones, or legends passing into a belated retirement -- play a concert that people turn out in their hundreds in the absence of any publicity and hype. The likes of Buddy Guy can pull a crowd just on the strength of what they have done . . . and because people know what they will do on the night.

The great Luther Allison -- who died in '97 -- was a Chicago blues legend who was tutored by Freddie King, spend most of his time in Europe in the Seventies and Eighties where he was appreciated, returned to the States at the urging of Bruce Iglauer of Alligator Records in the Nineties, and went about a relentless touring schedule (pulling those huge crowds in many places) backed by his hard working European band.

Allison attacked his guitar as if he had a flaming whip and hands of barbed wire, and he sang like he meant every angry or sad word.

When he died aged 57 -- just when he was hitting yet another peak -- his loss was deeply felt by those who had known the hot breath of his intense performances.

This CD/DVD recorded live in Canada in July '97, fewer than six weeks before his death -- and originally relased in 2010 -- is evidence of why he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame the following year.

He shoots everything home hard like his guitar is a nail gun, belts out thrilling solos, the crowd is on its feet with hearts in mouths and . . . six weeks later?

We should all be so lucky to have the closing overs of our life this exciting and so public.

While the boring intro notes are rolling on the clip below, get a drink and strap yourself in.

Genius . . . and bottled electrostatic blues.

Like the sound of this? Then check out Blues in Elsewhere, there's a lotta legends and great names in there.

Share It

Your Comments

Duncan - Feb 27, 2014

I'll check this out. His Live in Chicago double cd also from 97 is terrific

post a comment

More from this section   Blues articles index

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007: Watermelon Slim and the Workers; The Wheel Man (Southbound)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007: Watermelon Slim and the Workers; The Wheel Man (Southbound)

To be honest I didn't quite "get" the last, self-titled, album by this rough'n'ready bluesman, but I was clearly in the minority: the album won the Mojo magazine and the Independent Music... > Read more

Watermelon Slim and Super Chicken: Okiesippi Blues (NorthernBlues)

Watermelon Slim and Super Chicken: Okiesippi Blues (NorthernBlues)

In Clarksdale, Mississippi I saw a singer/guitarist who called himself Howl N Mudd, which was certainly a man covering his bases. (That story is here.) The juke joint he played in was very popular... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

John Cage: Mushroom Haiku (date unknown)

John Cage: Mushroom Haiku (date unknown)

The American composer John Cage (1912 - 92) was best known for something he did in '52, which was nothing. The composition which he performed was entitled 4'33" and involved Cage sitting at... > Read more

Mark Dinning: Top Forty, News, Weather and Sports (1961)

Mark Dinning: Top Forty, News, Weather and Sports (1961)

The rather sad Mark Dinning has appeared at From the Vaults previously because he was the voice on the great death ballad Teen Angel of '59 which had been written by his sister Jean. That's a... > Read more