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Albert Collins - Live at Montreux
Eagle Rock Entertainment

Run Time: 58:21

I was first introduced to Albert Collins when I was a small kid from his work on the “Adventures in Babysitting” Soundtrack from 1987 (“Babysitting Blues” anyone? Hey I was a product of the 80s!) I didn’t remember him very much except for the reverb-drenched chicken-picking sound he made on the guitar. I wasn’t quite a blues fan at four or so, but I do recall Albert’s trademark sound very vividly. Many years later I would discover after listening to his Alligator Records discography and later his Imperial Recordings, why Collins is considered the “Master of the Telecaster.”

This album/DVD finds Albert near the end of his life forces, recorded close to a year before he died, but not at the end of his guitar powers. Up and until the end, Albert was still as fiery, loud, in your face, and energy-packed as he was when he first recorded the seminal “Frosty” which appears here.

Backed by an amazing horn section and the driving funky bass lines of blues bass masters Johnny B. Gayden, Collins is allowed to soar and roar through a virtual greatest hits set list here. Taking us on some long strolls through his slow-burning blues numbers of “The Lights Are On (But Nobody’s Home)” which finds Albert scatting along with his guitar lines and “Too Many Dirty Dishes.” Collins vocals are a bit weak at times as compared to the fire of his early recorded works. However, Collins’ playful usually soft delivery on vocals is traded for a gruff, road-tested growl at some points. Yet, the playful and oft-smile bringin’ lyrics of “Honey Hush” and “If You Love Me Like You Say” are still delivered with believability and gregarious fun.

The fifteen minute romp through the funk-induced “Put the Shoe on the Other Foot” allows the band to space out and jam, giving Gayden one of the coolest and funkiest bass solos you’ve ever heard and highlighting the punctual rhythm section that is bedecked with a searing saxophone solo, as well.

The DVD adds 4 tracks from 1979 which shows Collins at the zenith of all his powers. Truly die-hard fans of Albert Collins will want the DVD more so than just the audio disc here. It’ll truly demonstrate how Albert was not just a legendary guitarist but a genius bandleader who, as all know helped many fine young musicians in his ever-changing Icebreakers band move on to later solo success.

To any blues lover this would be an integral part to any collection if you can only snatch up the Audio CD. You can still hear the raw power and emotion of a man fully in tune with his instrument and the blues. Also available on DVD.

Reviewer Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.

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