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Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater & Los Straightjackets

ROCK 'N' ROLL CITY (Rounder)
• Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater  w/ Los Straitjackets

Oh yeah, let's get this party started! Chicago blues legend joins forces with everybody's favorite masked marauders, Los Straitjackets, some of the greatest surf rockers and rockabilly players anywhere. The singer wears an Indian headdress and the band members are all in Mexican wrestling masks--I love this business.

The special guests are huge additions. Dennis Taylor's tenor and baritone sax are indispensably rockin! The jam went down at George Bradfute's Tone Chaparral Studio (the former home of Jim Reeves, you gotta love that), a whole lot of good records goin on down there. Along with engineering, curious George played some funky banjo, bass, and baritone guitar. And soul brother Steve Conn tracked some beautiful organ and piano, especially on the closer, "Good Times Are Coming."

Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater (a.k.a. Harrington) was named "Best Blues Entertainer" at this year's Chicago Music Awards and just two years previous won the W.C. Handy Award for "Contemporary Blues-Male Artist of the Year." Cat's almost 70, people. Give it up.

Los Straitjackets, man, they're something else. Danny Amis and Eddie Angel on guitars have been playing together a long time now, and they get an uncanny blend going on. Pete Curry is on the bass these days, and the explosive Jimmy Lester on drums, a personal favorite. Eddy "The Chief" Clearwater is more known for his blues repertoire than his rock and roll aspect, and he seemed to have a big time on these sessions at the Tone Chaparral.

There's a bunch of great songs on this record, classics and originals. My favorites are on the Listen page, "Hillbilly Blues" and "Back Down to Earth", but I love "Let the Four Winds Blow" and several other just as well. It's one of those records that seems like it couldn't have just been recorded, it has the spirit and the vibe of much older sessions and records that are too hard to find. But this one is easy to find (or it will be after its official release on August 12th), and you oughta buy it, right here! • FG

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