Snooks Eaglin

Live in Japan

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AllMusic Review by

Culled from two nights of recording at the Park Tower Hall in Tokyo in December of 1995, this album illustrates the astonishing breadth and depth to the music Snooks Eaglin chooses to interpret in a single evening. His guitar chops are impeccable, his tone clean without being thin, and his ability to whip off lick after astonishing lick in a variety of styles while still being his own man puts him at the forefront alongside any new breed innovators. With solid swinging support, Eaglin sounds relaxed and totally in command. His sideways spins on old chestnuts like "Hello Josephine" sound refreshing, while his nod to Smiley Lewis on "Down Yonder (We Go Ballin')" and "Lillie Mae" are spot-on treatments imbued with respect for an old New Orleans running buddy. His soulful reading of Dan Penn's "Nine Pound Steel" sets the stage for a couple of strange (on the surface) choices, the Isley Brothers' "It's Your Thing" and Stevie Wonder's "(Boogie On) Reggae Woman," which Eaglin totally stamps with the full-bore charm of his own personality. But if anyone truly doubts that Eaglin is not a serious bluesman to be reckoned with, one listen to the almost seven minutes of "Black Night" will dispel any such notions, even before the guitar solo hits. While many live albums exude a "guess you had to be there" quality to them, this one makes you wish you had been there.

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