Mike Cooper

Continuous Preaching Blues

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This 1984 recording (with some CD bonus tracks that date back to the late '60s and early '70s) marks yet another collaboration between Cooper and Ian Anderson, two stalwarts of the British acoustic blues scene. Well, a collaboration at times: On some tracks they appear together, like the title cut, their attempt to filer son house through the lens of Captain Beefheart in a London suburb, or a very prim take on Chuck Berry's "You Never Can Tell" that's more redolent of Bournemouth than New Orleans, but manages to convince with its charm. Anderson's "Everybody's Killing Me" might be a throwaway lyrically, but has a wonderful Chicago feel to the sound. Cooper's take on Blind Willie Johnson's "Dark Is the Night" seems to take its cue from Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross," guitar and alto sax working together to produce some beautiful music, and on "You Got to Move" Cooper produces some searing slide work. Then, to have "Paint It, Black," the Stones' classic, revisited as a mannered folk-blues is an amusing detour and a signal that these musicians value humor as a weapon, too. The two old bonus cuts are pleasant, with pride of place going to "The Inverted World," which has aged better than "Hey Space Pilot," with Cooper and Anderson working together on national guitars. Not a release to set the world on fire, but a reminder that Brits can still play the blues.

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