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Various Artists / 8 Lead Artists - It Ain’t Over

Delmark Records Celebrates 55 Years of Blues at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago

11songs; 67:16 minutes

This is a recording of a celebration of 55 years for Delmark records, founded in 1953 by Bob Koester. Mayor Richard Daley even proclaimed that day, March 7, 2008, to be Delmark Records Day in Chicago. This CD has a bunch of very notable musicians mostly all on the Delmark label, and this was a day to party and celebrate.

Zora Young does the lead song and title track, “(It ain't over) Til the Fat Lady Sings.” Further, Jimmy Johnson, Aaron Moore, the late, great Little Arthur Duncan (nicknamed after Little Walter), Lurrie Bell, Shirley Johnson, Eddie Shaw, and, last but not least, Tail Dragger all front the bands on these 11 songs.

Also, in the background on stage, there’s an array of fantastic musicians -- kind of a Who's Who in Chicago Blues today. The rhythm section, Kenny Smith on drums and Bob Stroger on bass, play almost the entire CD with only a couple exceptions. Later, Marty Binder on drums and Harlan Terson step in. Others helping out are Nick Moss, Dave Specter, and Kevin Shanahan on guitars and Billy Branch and Big D. on harmonica, just to name a few.

All 11 songs are done like an all-star blues jam party, with everyone doing a stellar performance. For example, there’s Jimmy Johnson, vocals and guitar, done in his minor key style, doing “Cold, Cold Feeling (Just like ice around my heart),” written by Jessie Mae Robinson. Another Jimmy Johnson standout is “You Don't Know What Love Is” written by Fenton Robinson. It’s very smooth and soothing music. Jimmy started playing professionally in 1959, cutting his teeth behind greats like Otis Rush, Freddie King, and Magic Sam. Before that he was a welder through the week and a bluesman on the weekends.

Track 5 finds the late, great Little Arthur Duncan singing and playing harmonica on “Pretty Girls Everywhere” while guitar aces Nick Moss and Rick Kreher share the guitar parts. This may be the last recording by Little Arthur before he passed away a short time later.

Lurrie Bell, a son of the late harmonica wizard Carey Bell, sings and plays guitar on “Don't You Lie to Me,” a Hudson Whittaker (“Tampa Red”) song. He also sits in on his 6-string on five other songs, playing great throughout this album.

This very collectible package was recorded, mixed and mastered at Riverside Studio, Chicago by Steve Wagner, Eric Butkus, and Legend’s soundman Dave Katzman. The design is by the beautiful and very talented Moonshine Kate Moss of Moonshine Design. There’s also fabulous photography on the cover.

Reviewer Tom "THE ENERGIZER" Schlesinger is a seasoned Blues lover and fan for many years. He’s a veteran of many a Blues Festival and The Ultimate and The Legendary Blues Cruises in the Caribbean.

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