top of page

Robert Lowery - Earthquake Blues (REVIEW - Living Blues)

With all the Robert Johnson-come-latelies materializing in the wake of the unprecedented success of Columbia/Legacy's Johnson box, it's heartening to stumble across a country bluesman who has long exhibited a strong Johnson influence in his work.

Producer Carlo Ditta went for the primitive approach in recording this 1989 solo collection by Arkansas guitarist Robert Lowery, rolling tape on Lowery's front porch in Santa Cruz, California. The disc includes Lowery's biographical monologues between many selections, a practice that soon becomes tiresome.

The disc's brooding title track may well be the first blues song chronicling the tragic quake in Northern California and is a standout, along with the Lowery originals They Call Me the Blues Man and Honey Babe. Three competent Robert Johnson covers are included, although Lowery's claim that no one has ever done a better remake of Crossroads than his is ridiculous. The guitarist also revives a pair of Lightnin' Hopkins items.

Robert Lowery is no Robert Johnson, and this CD wasn't made under ideal conditions. But it does represent a legitimate country blues release from a veteran artist who deserves a listen.

---Bill Dahl


Honey Babe / Come on in to My Kitchen / Ramblin' on My Mind / Earthquake Blues / Midnight Run / One Kind of Favor / Big Road / Crossroads / Fan It / Interlude Blues / They Call Me the Blues Man

[Orleans OR1017]


Originally published in Living Blues [May/June 1991], pg. 76


bottom of page