First off, this isn't the Big Joe Turner who recorded "Shake, Rattle & Roll." This is Big Joe Turner, B.B. King's former bass player, who has since headed up his own Memphis Blues Caravan and blossomed as a fine writer and arranger. His warm, easy, and uptown version of the blues has made him a popular festival act. In fact, he inspired and helped build a blues festival, and it's a wonderful story. In 1989, a group of people from Chédigny, France, a tiny village of 400-some inhabitants located 150 miles southwest of Paris, assembled an historical show as part of the bicentenary celebration of the French Revolution of 1789, and the show ended up winning a competition for which the prize was, believe it or not, a trip to Memphis, TN. When the Chédigny group finally made it to Memphis, they met Big Joe Turner, B.B. King's bass player, who was heading up his dynamic Memphis Blues Caravan by this time. An unlikely bond was born, and Turner eventually moved to Chédigny for a period, helping to establish a blues festival in the village that finally kicked off in 1998 (the year this album was recorded), and it has grown into one of the finest blues and roots festivals on the planet. This set is the one Turner and his Caravan delivered at that first festival, and it was originally issued as an album in 1999. It shows a funky and versatile little uptown blues band complete with horns, plenty of swing, a lot of soul and a jazzy understanding of rock & roll. It's also a little bit of cool blues history. Man, how that music can travel!
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett