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Elvin Bishop's Rainsin’ Hell Revue - Live on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise

Delta Groove Music

13 songs; 58:18 minutes

Styles: Rootsy Rock and Roll; Barroom Boogie; Classic Rock; R & B

Summer has always been a time for blues, brews and barbecues. Genre veteran Elvin Bishop did some traveling in 2010 on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise. He also did plenty of “Raisin' Hell”--hence, a review of his “Revue”! This particular writer has been familiar with his music ever since she was a little tyke. What else can she say for a final verdict on this live album except, “It's Elvin Bishop! How can one possibly go wrong?” All of the thirteen songs here are surefire crowd-pleasers, and zero are forgettable. Long-time, as well as new listeners, will proudly add this CD to their blues collection.

As the liner notes state, Raisin' Hell is “a revue in the classic sense of the term—various band members moving in and out of the spotlight for their featured numbers, a wide-ranging array of talents and styles represented, all presided over by the good-humored and congenial master of ceremonies Elvin Bishop.” Featured here are such noteworthy artists as John Nemeth, Finis Tasby, and Bishop's long-time band mate, saxophonist Terry Hanck. For the Rhythm and Blues Cruise enthusiasts, the three display their vocal prowess on “Fooled Around and Fell In Love,” “River's Invitation,” and “Cryin' Fool” respectively. Kid Andersen plays some wicked guitar solos on such songs as “Whole Lotta Lovin'” and “Bye Bye Baby.” Everyone puts his (or her, in background vocalist Lisa Leu Andersen's case) best foot forward, and thus everyone basks in blues glory. This is no slapdash effort, an album cranked out in a hurry because the musicians are short on cash. This is a labor of love, and all on the Cruise know it.

The biggest highlights on this album are two numbers that reference current events: “What the Hell is Going On?” and “Dyin' Flu.” One is up-tempo and the other slow, but both are tongue-in cheek: “Scared to read my paper. Can't look at TV. The world's getting way too crazy for me!” the first laments wryly. The second, complete with a monologue by Bishop himself, starts out: “Now, do you remember last year about this time, they were telling us on TV that we're all going to die from the swine flu. You remember that? Well, I see we're still here, and I'm glad of it!” We blues aficionados are, too. Keep on sailing, Elvin!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 31-year-old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

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