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Jesse Anderson - Funk ‘N’ Blues
14 songs; 37:07 minutes; Suggested
Styles: 1960s & 70s Chicago Blues; Rhythm And Blues; Funk
Last year at Helena Arkansas’ King Biscuit Blues Festival, I was stage side for the award winning best Blues entertainer, Bobby Rush. After a couple of numbers, Bobby started singing "I Got a Problem," and the guy next to me yelled, "Only one?" Bobby then did a back up and said/sang, "Oh yeah ........ I got THREE problems: my woman, my girlfriend, and my wife!” It was too funny. Jesse Anderson along with Gene Barge wrote the original song that inspired Rush’s version.
On this CD, Chicago's legendary "Ow-Wow" man, Jesse Anderson, releases all of his Funk & Blues from the 1960s thru the 70s including his biggest hit, "I've Got A Problem" and his scorching ballad "What Will I Say." Now a 69 year old resident of Wichita KS, Anderson says in the liner notes, “This album has been produced for the preservation of my contribution to Funk and Blues. It was mastered from the original vinyl recordings of their era and digitally reproduced with state of the art equipment.” It should be noted that, while very listenable, the tonal quality can not be expected to match contemporary technology’s. Sadly, the liner notes do not reveal the song’s other players.
Unfamiliar with Anderson, I asked free-lance record producer and Blues historian Dick Shurman about him. “He’s a singer and saxophonist who’s been around for a long time. His biggest song, recorded for Curtis Mayfield, was “I Got A Problem” which has been covered by a lot of artists [e.g. Buddy Guy, Albert Collins], but he also has some tough songs (including “Your Letter” and “I Got a Feeling”) under his own name and with Willie Wright & the Sparklers on the Ace Records anthology of Federal material “Welcome To The Club.”
“I Got a Problem” -- Leaning toward the blues side of “Funk 'n' Blues,” this popular song was re-titled by Bobby Rush “I've Got Three Problems” on 2007’s “Raw.” However, it’s Jesse Anderson’s original lowdown, “Sometimes it takes two, now, y'all, just to satisfy a man.” Jesse explains, “The way my problem started: I started fooling around with #3!” One of the ultimate “guilty pleasure” blues classics, liner notes from Bill Dahl’s 2001 interviews reveal, “Jesse’s romantic liaisons provided the inspiration.”
“Your Letter” -- This love song to every listener is a perfect slice of the 1960's: a crispy chorus crust (“Don't you know that I love you?” Jesse Anderson raves), a rich and buttery horn section, and a tart cherry filling of affection mixed with angst. Once one takes a bite, one will savor the flavor of this bygone era. Anderson proves that the Beatles were influenced by Chicago musicians who knew how to compose a delicious dance number!
“Mighty Mighty” -- Quirky instrumentals such as this one are the quintessential prototype of 1970s music. Just like the rainbow swirls of color on people's T-shirts and disco dance floors back then, “Mighty Mighty” is an eclectic mix of bright orange wah-wah pedal, fiery red guitar, black rat-a-tat drums adding their percussive splotches to the musical palette, and a pale blue flute solo providing relaxation. If you want to return to the era of Free Love, fall in love with this song! It's psychedelic and groovy.
“Send Me Some Lovin' COD” -- Even if one can’t remember what the acronym stands for (Collect on Delivery), one will find this raunchy rendition delivers! The vocals here are reminiscent of Motown, but with a tangy twist. The fourth word of this song's title is often shouted in the refrain, wittily serving to underscore just what the narrator is presently craving. Check out the attention-grabbing scat solo in the middle: “Send me some tender, tender feeling, right now, right now, right now-now-now!”
For serious collectors who do not already possess these songs, here is an indispensable time capsule of a Chicago music era from an incredible singer and songwriter.!
Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Fridays from 10 pm - Midnight and Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at www.wkccradio.org in Kankakee, IL. Amy Walker contributed to this review.
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