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
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.