Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials: Jump Start (Alligator)

 |   |  <1 min read

Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials: House of Cards
Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials: Jump Start (Alligator)

When Bruce Iglauer founded Alligator Records in Chicago 40 years ago it was to release albums by the likes of Hound Dog Taylor and Albert Collins who were burning up local clubs with their incendiary and tough minded playing.

In 1986 singer-guitarist Lil' Ed and his band were invited to record a song but, treating the studio like stage, they stormed through a whole set which became their debut album Roughhousin'.

That's Lil' Ed, just plug him in and stand back. And this 14 song collection is in the classic Chicago style of barbed wire guitar, tough lyrics about hard times (smoking crack) and luckless love.

Lil' Ed (who is indeed very small) is close to 60 but there's no suggestion he's slowing down – his solo on House of Cards alone could peel paint – but when he pulls the pace back for slow-fuse ballads he delivers with a rare passion and injects his playing with melancholy (the weeping tone on Life is a Journey or the funereally-paced If You Change You Mind).

But mostly what is here kicks in with drilling drums and swooping bass behind his piercing slide which comes on like Elmore James in a drag race.

Light the fuse, stand well clear.

Like the sound of Alligator blues? Then check this out.


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Blues articles index

C.W. Stoneking: King Hokum (Inertia)

C.W. Stoneking: King Hokum (Inertia)

Okay, this one had me stumped -- and increasingly impressed. The guy on the black'n'white cover sitting outside a clapboard shack is a round-faced thirty something white guy, but the guy singing... > Read more

Eric Bibb: Diamond Days (Telarc/Elite)

Eric Bibb: Diamond Days (Telarc/Elite)

Bibb is one of that new generation of bluesmen who sounds utterly authentic: this despite Bibb growing up in New York, having John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet as an uncle, and studying... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER GRIFFIN JENKINS considers a classic concept album 44 years on

GUEST WRITER GRIFFIN JENKINS considers a classic concept album 44 years on

Rael Died for Our Sins: A new analysis of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis – written by Peter Gabriel and released in late 1974 – begins... > Read more

ELITE SQUAD; THE ENEMY WITHIN by JOSE PADILHA (Madman DVD)

ELITE SQUAD; THE ENEMY WITHIN by JOSE PADILHA (Madman DVD)

When it comes to a bit of the old glamorous ultra-violence, Hollywood might as well give up trying. The mainstream American audience has little stomach for violence which is so visceral that you... > Read more