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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Delmark Records artist: Johnny Burgin - Live - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Live from Johnny Burgin and it's really good. Opening with brisk shuffle, You Got to Make A Change, Johnny is upfront on vocal and guitar, backed by Aki Kumar on harp, Kid Andersen on guitar, Chris Matheos on bass and Steve Dougherty on drums. Excellent, slow blues, Can't Make It Blues, Johnny really shines with his soulful vocal and blistering guitar riffs. Most people don't think of Chicago bluesmen as hot, slingers with real pyrotechnics but Burgin is here to show you that Buddy Guy is no longer the only game in town. Excellent! There are only a few contemporary players that can really pull off the funky blues like Albert King could and Burgin is one of them. She Gave Me The Slip is a great example with solid blues riffs over a great funky beat. Time for a great Chicago blues instrumental and Kumar is up and ready on harp. Burgin, Andersen and Kumar really kick it on this one with smoke flying. Rae Gordon has the mic on Late Night Date Night and she grips this track by the scruff and shakes it. Burgin and sax ace Nancy Wright add some real nice lead rhythm and Kid Andersen covers on piano. Wright is featured on You Took The Bait and Gordon is back on vocal. Johnny steps up with lush, T Bone Walker styling and rich tone and Wright's sax work is excellent (you listening Stilladog). Louisiana Walk is an excellent instrumental shuffle showcasing Burgin's chops and it's great to see some of that get out here on disc. Wright's tone is unmistakable in the background as Burgin "Walks" that dog around like a king! Charlie Musselwhite is up next on Blues Falling and Burgin steps back letting him take the lead with one short burst of "fancy picking" behind his own vocals. Musselwhite plays with the enthusiasm of a teenager but has the chops of the seasoned blues player that he is. One of my favorite tracks on the release is When A Bluesman Comes To Town. Johnny's vocal phrasing really nicely with Musselwhite's harp work and Burgin not only gets aggressive with his guitar but seems to be grabbing his riffs with real attack and tension. I love this. It's something that smooth players don't seem to get. Very very cool! Wrapping the release is Latin flavored shuffle, Jody's Jazz, with a great mixture of blues riffs, terrific Burgin classic vibrato, and supple chords. Wright steps in with another few rich sax solos and Burgin closes it down with his own run of jazz and blues riffs. It's great that Delmark has caught one of the most dynamic guitar players on the scene in live action. Highly recommended. 

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