I've Lived a Rich Life

Jeffrey Evans

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I've Lived a Rich Life Review

by Kathleen C. Fennessy

Every bluesman needs a catch phrase. Mississippi Fred McDowell's was, "I do not play no rock & roll." Well, Monsieur Jeffrey Evans isn't strictly a blues guy, but it is one of the ingredients in his long-simmering musical stew (along with folk, country, bluegrass, and rock & roll). His catch phrase -- at least for the purposes of this recording -- is "I've lived a rich life." That he has, and it's what the album is all about. Yet even by Evans' idiosyncratic standards, it's an unusual one. (The "Monsieur," incidentally, attached itself to his name sometime after the demise of the Gibson Bros.). You might be expecting a collection of acoustic ballads, but that isn't what's going on here. I've Lived a Rich Life is, instead, more like an oral biography or music history lesson (Evans refers to it as a "workshop"). Recorded in the parking lot of Shangri-La Records in Memphis, TN, he talks about his life (both personally and professionally) and illustrates the story with snippets from his catalog and those of his favorite artists. The end result is more talk than music, but Evans is a natural raconteur. The casual fan may be left a bit flummoxed by the proceedings, but the dedicated Evans aficionado is sure to find I've Lived a Rich Life to be quite an interesting and amusing -- let alone insightful -- affair.

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