Little Arthur Duncan

Live at Rosa's Blues Lounge [DVD]

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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson

In 2007, Delmark offered both DVD and audio CD versions of various live releases by blues and jazz artists; on the blues side, one of them was Little Arthur Duncan's Live at Rosa's Blues Lounge. This 75-minute DVD, which documents a Chicago gig of August 18, 2007, contains two bonus tracks that are not on the 65-minute audio CD version: Slim Harpo's "Baby, Scratch My Back" and Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup's "Mean Old Frisco Blues" (not surprisingly, there is no VHS version -- by 2007, most record companies had long since come to regard VHS tapes as dinosaurs). One of the advantages of the DVD version (on top of the two bonus tracks) is the fact that it allows one to see Duncan's energy in addition to feeling it -- and while Duncan (who turned 73 in 2007) doesn't bring a huge amount of vocal or technical stamina to the stage, he still has plenty of energy. Duncan's performances at Rosa's Blues Lounge are definitely inspired, and his enthusiasm comes through loud and clear whether he is turning his attention to Roosevelt Sykes' "44 Blues" and Howlin' Wolf's "No Place to Go" or embracing several original songs. One of those Duncan originals is the autobiographical "Leaving Mississippi," which describes something that the veteran singer/harmonica player did during his youth: he left Mississippi, eventually winding up in Chicago -- and the Windy City audience at Rosa's Blues Lounge obviously appreciates Duncan's firm commitment to electric Chicago blues, as do the members of Duncan's band. This DVD paints a consistently enjoyable picture of what transpired at Rosa's Blues Lounge on August 18, 2007.

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