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Robert Lowery - Earthquake Blues (REVIEW - Cadence)

Orleans 1017

Carlo Ditta's Orleans label has brought to light a number of different blues and r'n'b artists including Mighty Sam McClain (6/87, p.77), C.P. Love (8/89, p.77), and Willy Mink DeVille. This Robert Lowery disc was recorded on Ditta's front porch in Santa Cruz, California, not too long after the big earthquake, which explains the title. Nothing fancy on this recording, just voice and guitar. Lowery introduces just about each track, giving either personal background or information about the composition. His slide work is excellent, especially the way he wraps the guitar lines around his vocals. He gives a sensuous reading to Robert Johnson's "Come On In My Kitchen" and gives a personal twist to Johnson's "Rambling On My Mind." His guitar playing is spare which creates a good deal of tension. His version of "Crossroads" opens with a tribute to Johnson's talent. There are a pair of Lightnin' Hopkins compositions, a rolling version of "One Kind Of Favor" and a rocking "Fan It." His guitar pops and shakes on Tommy Johnson's "Big Road." The rest of the tracks are originals. The title song sounds like it was thrown together for the recording. He alludes to the World Series game that was cancelled by the quake. "Midnight Run" features his slide work and is a complaining song - his woman hasn't washed his clothes or made his dinner and maybe she's ready to take off and "make her midnight run." There's a strong "Dust My Broom" feel to "They Call Me The Blues Man", thanks to the slide work. Earthquake Blues is easy to digest. Lowery's pleasant personality comes shining through the spoken intros and songs. If you like acoustic blues with no surprises, you'll enjoy the work of Robert Lowery.

---Richard B. Kamins

 

Honey Baby / Come On In My Kitchen / Ramblin' Mind / Earthquake Blues / Midnight Run / One Kind of Favor / Big Road / Crossroads / Fan It / Interlude Blues / They Call Me The Blues Man

[41:40]

Lowery, ac g, voc. 10/89, Santa Cruz, CA.

 

Originally published in Cadence (May 1992), Vol. 18, No. 5, pg. 97

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