You could say that Chris Beard likes to play guitar -- the nine minutes of fretboard pyrotechnics that make up the opening "Born to Play the Blues" make that all too apparent. This is a full-on electric blues (mostly) live disc, full of scintillating lead guitar (check out the inspired "Tribute to Luther Allison"), backed by a top-notch band, whose players also get a good workout, like keyboardist Alan Murphy on "It's About Time." But the inevitable focus is on Beard's massive skills. He's a good singer, if not outstanding, but he's a dynamic, inventive guitarist who seems to be at his happiest when dazzling an audience. Those cuts have an immediacy and energy that's missing on the three final studio tracks -- even the aching "Lock My Dreams," where he makes his guitar cry, lacks that energy. Having already established his reputation with his previous work, Beard cements his stature with this record, and sets himself up to take a place among the contemporary blues guitar greats.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Chris Nickson