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Kenny Kilgore - Bad Luck Blues

Big Bender Records

13 songs; 52:56 minutes

Styles: Electric Chicago Blues, Modern Electric Blues; Memphis and Cajun/Southern

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” says the old saw, reminding us to put our best foot forward. Even before I heard the first song on Kenny Kilgore's fantastic, fifth solo album, “Bad Luck Blues,” the impression I received was: “No matter what, this man has a great sense of humor!” The CD cover photograph shows a distinguished gentleman straightening his tie—while looking in a cracked mirror—under a ladder. A picture like this is most fittingly taken on one particular Friday. Guess which one!

As for Kilgore himself, he is a multiple-genre, guitar maven from Atlanta who's toured with Tinsley Ellis and played alongside notable blues and rock stars such as Billy Boy Arnold, Lazy Lester, Floyd Dixon, Jody Williams, Kid Rock, and many more giving him an impressive pedigree from a twenty-something year career. Currently, Kenny is lead guitarist for The Shadows, the house band at the famous Blind Willie’s Blues club in Atlanta.

It turns out superstitious listeners have nothing to fear when they peruse “Bad Luck Blues.” None of its thirteen songs (four of them instrumental originals) carry the curses of flat riffs, missed notes or ho-hum lyrics. Naturally, one will favor some songs over others, but there are no outright flops! There is a lot here to love with covers of songs by the likes of Freddie King and Percy Mayfield.

That said, let's address the music itself. The title track, coined by Billy Boy Arnold, is addicting and atmospheric. There's an aftereffect on Chicago Bob Nelson’s vocals that makes it have a slight but haunting echo. Nelson also adds deft harmonica to the proceedings.

Track five, Elmore James’s “You Got to Move,” is the album's first song that might perturb some people. Why does Chicago Bob Nelson, singing as the song's narrator, tell his longtime lover to take a hike? “You won't work no more. You won't cook. You won't sew. You won't even scrub the floor! You've got to move!” Three words for him: HIRE A MAID! I can’t help this, but whenever Nelson sings “move,” as “moooove,” a picture of a cow tends to move into my head! Kilgore lays down some sweet and smoking slide guitar on this one.

Look out for naughty number nine—an anthem dedicated to cheating! Sandra Hall belts it out on “Breakin' Up Somebody's Home” with no guilt or cringing shame. She's looking for love, even if it IS in all the wrong places. The rhythm is one long quarter note, followed by a teasing couplet. Why does Hall find adultery so appetizing? “Got nowhere to turn. Tired of being alone. Feel like breakin' up somebody's home! Whoo—I like it, like, like it like that!” This reviewer does, too.

Kankakee, Illinois’s favorite daughter and now Atlanta resident Francine Reed turns in an outstanding vocal delight on Mayfield’s “Please Send Me Someone to Love.”

Lazy Lester brings his Cajun influence as he wonderfully sings and plays harmonica on two of his biggest hits written by Excello Records producer Jay Miller, “I’m a Lover Not a Fighter” and “I Hear You Knocking.” For other highlights, check out the Kilgore jumping, instrumental originals.

Last impressions count, too, and “Bad Luck Blues” is a surefire winner! Its impressions are lasting!

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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