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Lurrie Bell
Let’s Talk About Love

Aria B.G. Records

Review by Ben Cox
Run Time: 45:51

Imagine taking every great guitar player in blues from the South Side of Chicago and wrapping them all up into one person. This is Lurrie Bell. Having lived the blues simply through his namesake of his father (the late harmonica legend Carey Bell) or through his own triumphs and tragedies, Bell is one of the most respected and well rounded blues guitarists walking the Earth today. This is Bell’s first solo effort after the death of his father and his romantic partner Susan Greenberg, to which the album is aptly dedicated. Refusing to give in to critic pressure and tackle his life in an album, Bell instead harnesses his demon around the neck of his red Gibson guitar and spins tales of love and love lost.

Bell let’s us all know immediately where he’s from with the opening track and title track to the album with a firm bitter taste of a Chicago shuffle with varied approach, showing the influence of his father’s approach to blues (giving us something we’ve heard before but not giving it quite the same way as everyone else). Bell stays at home in Chicago with the first of two Willie Dixon covers with “Earthquake & Hurricane” adding in fellow Chicagoan steeped in tradition Billy Branch, rumbling around Bell’s stinging guitar work. Bell shows us he’s not afraid to step out of Chicago when he steps on the Memphis Soul road with the Pops Staples “Why (Am I Treated So Bad)” adding the Sacred Cousins on background vocals to the funky gospel groove. Bell reminds us of a time when Stax Records flourished with such soul, power, and expression. Bell, however, doesn’t stay out of Chicago too long, adding legend Jimmy Johnson on harmonies for the acoustic, fresh-from-the-Delta “Missing You” from the J.B. Lenoir discography. Bell continues to take us all through the many sidewalks and sides of Chicago’s blues music heritage and doesn’t bore us or offer anything stale. One more point of reference is “Chicago Is Loaded With the Blues.” Johnny Iguana’s piano conjures the soul of Otis Spann with out fully copping his style. Producer Matt Skoller adds some brilliant harp work, unsurprisingly reminding us of Lurrie’s late father. And, with a humble nod, showing us he’s comfortable as a musician that makes his band sound good by stepping back, Bell doesn’t take the first solo in the song instead allowing Skoller to pass the tribute on to Carey Bell seamlessly. Bell’s less is more approach and his ability to step back should be a lesson for all new and even some of the current guitarists on the scene today. To me, it demonstrates Lurrie’s attitude and brilliance to a tee, which cannot be ignored; making this disc one of the best of 2007, a definite sleeper. If you like Chicago blues, this is one of a few remaining road maps out there to pick up and enjoy.

Album is available on every major record outlet or visit Lurrie’s website at .

Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.

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