Elvin Bishop

The Elvin Bishop Group

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Bishop's first solo album (billed to the Elvin Bishop Group) was a mixed effort at best, hampered by his limitations as a singer and composer. Bishop wasn't really much of a vocalist at all at this point, and as a frontman he usually resorted to the hoarse half-comic yelp of his Pigboy Crabshaw persona. The result wasn't successful as either straight blues or comedy, though he certainly pulled out the desperate quasi-vaudevillian stops for "Sweet Potato," a love song that made his girl seem as deliberately physically unappealing as possible. It was better to let his guitar do his talking, as he did on the original instrumental "Tulsa Shuffle," which strongly recalled his better moments in the Paul Butterfield Band (complete with harmonica by Applejack). "Dad Gum Ya Hide, Boy" was another over-the-top comic number in which Bishop played the country rube, while the rest of the album was filled out with accomplished but routine blues-rock, including covers of Guitar Slim's "The Things That I Used to Do," Percy Mayfield's "Prisoner of Love," and J.B. Lenoir's "How Much More." The 2002 CD reissue on Sundazed adds two live tracks, "So Fine" and "Party Till the Cows Come Home," that originally appeared on the early-'70s various-artists compilation album Last Days of the Fillmore.

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