Live From Bluesville

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Live From Bluesville

Postby blueswriter » Sun May 10, 2009 12:50 pm

Various Artists
Live From Bluesville
Vizztone (2008) BE-205


11 tracks, 46 minutes. Very good. While Live From Bluesville shines in a few spots, it seems more like a souvenir than an actual recording project, and it's not anything listeners haven't heard before. One of the disappointing factors is that Mookie Brill only gets one vocal. He easily proves on Early In The Morning that he's both engaging and convincing. Add to that his excellent harp work, also only on this one track, and it sadly comes across as a missed opportunity to mine some solid territory. Rich Delgrosso's mandolin work is certainly enjoyable throughout, but as a blues vocalist, he tries too hard to sound 'old school' as evidenced on Lightnin' Hopkins' Shotgun Blues. Knowing he's of the caucasian persuasion, it's almost comical hearing him sing "I hear my black name ringing all up and down the line." His Hard To Live With isn't much to write home about, while Get Your Nose Outta My Bizness fares slightly better with the addition of Fiona Boyes trading vocal verses. Boyes herself sounds too forced on Howlin' Wolf's Smokestack Lightning, although her three originals (Homegrown Sin, Good Lord Made You So and Two Legged Dog) are nicely done. However, her true standout here is a wonderful, deeply stark and heartfelt cover of J.B. Lenoir's Mississippi Road. While Live From Bluesville isn't a disappointing effort overall, aside from the couple of very strong points, it's really 'just another blues record' without any real twists or head-turning moments. It stands up for a spin or two, but would probably wilt pretty quickly under much closer scrutiny.

© 2009 by Craig Ruskey
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