Walking With The Kings

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Walking With The Kings

Postby blueswriter » Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:29 pm

Various Artists
Walking With The Kings
Audio Fidelity DVD (2007) SP99035

Image

14 tracks, 90 minutes, Color - DVD. Very good. There are some things perhaps better left unspoken in the blues world. This recent DVD contains a couple of examples. The back cover of the digital video package reads: "If B.B., Albert and Freddie are the blues kings, then surely Vince, Nathaniel, Clas and Jon are the princes of blues." Heady praise indeed but it's doubtful that the jury would spend much time deliberating before returning a verdict. Vince Converse heads up the program and is introduced as "one of the best known blues guitarists in the US... basically known to man." Is he? Aside from his 'One Step Ahead' disc in 1999 and two songs that appear on a pair of Peter Green tributes, he's not on the radar all that frequently. Jon Paris garners slightly more recognition, but that could be due to his time playing with Johnny Winter years ago. Clas Yngstrom is known as the Scandanavian Hendrix but it's doubtful his name is all that popular among blues fans in the States, and Nathaniel Peterson won't ring many bells unless you recall his guest vocal spot on Hubert Sumlin's 'About Them Shoes' disc. These artists deserve credit for carrying the blues torch, but lauding each of them as a current prince stretches things a bit far. As for the music on the DVD, it has its moments, yet there are also moments that should have been left on the cutting room floor. Converse is a tough guitar slinger in the SRV vein who acquits himself well and easily outshines the rest of the cast as a singer, but he occasionally relies on repetitive guitar phrasing. Peterson handles most of the bass chores and contributes strong vocals to a handful, although The Thrill Is Gone proves to be a problem when the band can't quite figure out how or where to end the song. Yngstrom is interesting on Fat Guitars, but Rock Me Baby is a worn and over-used retread that needs to be thrown into Springfield's burning tire pile once and for all. Jon Paris blows some good harp and also hands in Oh Pretty Woman playing decent guitar, but Peterson's dismal harmonica work makes it a painful track. A few guests appear, including Amy Madden on bass for a couple, and Speedo Jones, who proves to be a toneless harp player on The Sky Is Crying. While there are sections of these performances that are very worthwhile, tired warhorses like Hoochie Coochie Man, Everyday I Have The Blues and others don't exactly stand up well during a 90-minute, professionally-shot show like this. The taping for this DVD was done over two nights in April of 2007. Sound quality is excellent and the camera work superb, with lots of good close-ups. As a bonus, there's a ten-track CD included. Using a one-to-ten scale, Walking With The Kings, a tribute to the music of Albert, Freddie and Riley B. King lands in the middle.

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© 2008 by Craig Ruskey
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