Lazy Lester

Lazy Lester Rides Again

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The prime of Lazy Lester's recording career was his stint for Excello Records in the 1950s and '60s, and he hadn't recorded in the studio for quite some time when the Rides Again album was cut in England over the course of four days in late May 1987. You wouldn't say this is a peak of his work by any means, but if you accept that he couldn't be reasonably expected to replicate the magic of his vintage swamp blues with producer J.D. Miller, it's fairly decent. Lester himself is in good voice and blows the harmonica well on a set mixing remakes of Miller-era material with newer songs. While the backup band (including members of the Junkyard Angels and Blues 'N'Trouble) were journeymen without high name recognition, they play in a suitably loose and energetic style. Esteemed British producer Mike Vernon's liner notes for the expanded edition has the curious effect of lowering your hopes for the session in its studied detailing of various imperfections, but it's not an effort to be ashamed of. [The 2011 expanded edition adds 11 previously unreleased bonus tracks, two of which, the easygoing "I Ain't Glad" and the more hepped-up instrumental "Rockin' with Lester," did not make it onto the original Rides Again album in any form. As the other nine bonus cuts are alternate takes (including two each of three of the tunes) that don't differ a whole lot from the ones used for the album, it can be questioned whether these needed to be included at all.]

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