Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Chicago Soul Electric Blues Funk & Soul Reviewed

The other side of Chess Records.
Is it worth buying another Compilation?

I went drinking in the Northern Quarter on friday night and three pints in I was staring at Piccadilly Records from Dry Bar, I decided to go in and just have a luck round.

One record popped out that was too hard to resist, a compilation album of Chicago Soul, it was in the late sixties and Chess records when they decided to bring their blues artists like Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf  ‘up to date’ by putting them with more psych/soul bands. 

I’ve already got the Electric Mud album, and unlike most of the blues loving population, I think it’s a work of genius. So I paid £12.50 and here I am now nursing a hangover and getting ready to listen to some music. After piercing the plastic sheaf I can see that this 180gram vinyl double LP set has been made well with a 4 pages of sleeve notes telling you the whole Chess Records story.

I think that Leonard Chess’s son Marshall dad a great job taking this iconic label in a different direction. This is a great example of a blues label morphing into a whole different beast.

Every song on this collection is  essential but the three tracks that really stand out on this double LP  is a funked up version of ‘EVIL’ sang by Howlin wolf, the wah guitars fits right in with this groove. The track comes from the ‘This is Howlin Wolf’s new album. He doesn’t like it. He didn’t like his electric guitar at first either” album and I can’t see why Wolf hated the track so much it does sound like blues evolving.  I’ll have to go and search out this album.

Bo Diddley with less of his traditional guitar sound and more 60s garage rock drumming, great female harmonies in this track making it sound immense. The rolling stones would dream to sound this cocksure, the song struts.

Muddy Water’s appears in the final side of the second LP and blows everyone out of the water. Water’s is singing Willie Dixon’s ‘I just want to make love to you.’ I think it’s fair to say that the three best on this track are Muddy, Diddley and Wolf because they stand so tall and have such presence on the records.

Other notable mentions are Etta Jame’s 'Tell Mama,' which sounds a bit like ‘Soul Finder’ and it defiantly out do’s motown sound and The Stereo’s ‘Stereo Freeze’ is one smooth motherfucker,

The Soul Stirrers Why am I treated’ so bad sounds like it’s been recorded in someone’s bathroom and in one take. The reverb is so thick and the multiple singers reminds me of Phil Spector’s wall of sound on a budget.

To conclude you should just go out and buy this, if you like it buy the individual albums these are from…If you can find them. I’m off to give these records another spin and drink some more coffee.

You can pick up Chicago Soul: Electric Blues, Funk and Soul on Soul Jazz Records here

Tell us what you think at givedaddytheknifecindy@hotmail.com
Listen to GDTKC Podcast 1 - Death to the Strange

Listen to GDTKC Podcast 2 - Wilko Johnson Talks
Listen to GDTKC Podcast 3 -  Vintage Trouble

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