Terry Evans

Puttin' It Down

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Terry Evans' second solo release (after a few with his singing partner Bobby King) further explores his swampy gospel, rock, R&B, and blues roots. Backed by veteran musicians like former employer Ry Cooder, bassist/songwriter Jorge Calderon, and even legendary jazz/funk trombonist George Bohanon (who tears it up with his solo on the album-closing slow groove of "Blues No More"), Evans proves that he's one of the most underrated vocalists on the blues/roots scene. Growling, humming, and testifying through an album primarily comprised of originals, Evans is in terrific voice. Much of the material sounds like it could have been on a mid-'70s Cooder release, but the singer adds additional vocal bite to this rootsy material. He's as comfortable with the upbeat approach of the humorous leadoff track, "Put the Money in Your Pocket," as with the searing, almost frightening deep blues of "Down in Mississippi" (reprised and rescued from obscurity on the Crossroads soundtrack), which at nearly eight minutes is the album's centerpiece and most intense piece. Here Evans uses his gruff voice to swoop and moan over eerie, snaking slide guitar and Jim Keltner's ominous, pounding drums. What's refreshing is how effectively Evans avoids typical blues clichés, preferring a more rhythmic approach -- one that Cooder's quicksilver lines do much to enhance. Soulful and emotional, Puttin' It Down is a dusty gem of an album. Like Evans' entire catalog, it's well worth exploring for blues/gospel fans looking for music that effectively combines the urging truth of gospel with the sensual grit of Memphis R&B.

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