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

Joe Bonamassa: Blues of Desperation (Southbound)

Joe Bonamassa: Blues of Desperation (Southbound)

Despite commercial success and enthusiastic audiences at his shows, bluesman Bonamassa is also a divisive figure: many blues guitarists for example see him only as a sum of his considerable... > Read more

Son of Dave: '02' (Kartel/Rhythmethod)

Son of Dave: '02' (Kartel/Rhythmethod)

In the last couple of years this UK-based Canadian-born singer-songwriter (aka Ben Darvill, formerly of Crash Test Dummies) has conjured up the spirit and sound of old bluesmen punctuated with raw... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

RAHSAAN ROLAND KIRK (1936-77): Just a wild'n'crazy guy?

RAHSAAN ROLAND KIRK (1936-77): Just a wild'n'crazy guy?

Nobody talks about Rahsaan Roland Kirk much anymore. Maybe it’s because his recording career was too erratic, maybe because this sometimes fright-inducing multi-instrumentalist (literally, he... > Read more

NEW ZEALAND JAZZ LIFE by NORMAN MEEHAN

NEW ZEALAND JAZZ LIFE by NORMAN MEEHAN

Presented like a piece of jazz – themes laid out and explored, then space for soloists to let their distinct voices be heard – this tight 240-page paperback is an important and very... > Read more