Paul deLay

deLay Does Chicago

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After six albums of blues harmonica playing that defies all the rules, deLay comes to Chicago, hooks up with the Johnny Burgin band, and cuts a nice, relaxed record in the 1950s Chicago style. But that doesn't mean that deLay turned in a bunch of old Little Walter and Muddy Waters tunes from his record collection for this one. Instead, he wrote -- or co-wrote with various bandmembers -- every tune on here, with many of them ("Beautiful Bones," "Oak Street Beach," "All Cried Out") tipping their stylistic hat in the direction of Junior Wells and Buddy Guy's efforts on the classic Hoodoo Man Blues album. Zora Young guests on "Come on Home," and Jimmy Dawkins contributes some nasty, stinging guitar on "El Train" and "What's Coming Next." But as always, deLay's stratospheric explorations on his harp (especially his swinging work with the chromatic) are the big ticket, and tracks like "Brave Woman," the Elmore-styled "Wait," and "Only Me" provide plenty of harmonica fireworks. If this is a side project between albums with his regular working band, then the infusion of new blood and new surroundings combine to make this one of the most accessible albums of his career.

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