Johnny Shines

Too Wet to Plow

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Johnny Shines was far from predictable. Though he recorded his share of inspired electric dates, he had no problem turning around and delivering a stripped-down, all-acoustic Delta blues session like Too Wet to Plow. Recorded in Edmonton, Canada in 1975 and reissued on CD by Concord Jazz's Blues Alliance label in 1996, Too Wet to Plow finds Shines in excellent form. His solid accompaniment includes harmonica player Sugar Blue and bassist Ron Rault, as well as guitarist/singer Louisiana Red (a superb bluesman who isn't nearly as well known as he should be), and Shines clearly has a strong rapport with them on "Red Sun," "Traveling Back Home," and other highly personal originals. Although Shines' own songs are dominant, one of the album's high points is an interpretation of Robert Johnson's "Hot Tamale." Highly recommended.

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