Bryan Lee

My Lady Don't Love My Lady

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Over his 11 CDs plus a greatest-hits package for the Justin Time label, Bryan Lee has been one of the most consistently satisfying blues artists heard anywhere. Sporting a sly but sweet voice and more than competent, pleasing guitar style, Lee has made inroads into keeping the real urban blues tradition alive, where many others have either watered it down, rocked it out far too much, or funkified it past the point of recognition. Fans will be doubly pleased to hear Lee with an all-star showstopping band of heavy friends covering some truly classic material plus a few of the leader's originals based on pure downtown amplified Chicago blues. Producer and guitarist Duke Robillard heads the crew along with fellow former Roomful of Blues bandmate Doug James on baritone sax, the estimable bassist Marty Ballou, the fantastically talented pianist David Maxwell, Gordon "Sax" Beadle on tenor, and very special guest guitarists Buddy Guy and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. It's a horn-driven sound through and through with Lee's singing up-front where it belongs in the spirit of music that makes bad times feel better. Of Lee's original tunes, the title track might very well be a cautionary tale for philanderers, but is in fact the funky story of a woman pitted against Lee's wah-wah guitar, and whether it's the woman or the guitar spending time with him at night. "Me & My Music" has a similar either/or theme in a cool and wintry Chi-Town get-out-of-town mood, while "Too Many Wolves" is in a more disgustedly tiring mood at always looking over one's shoulder for rivals. The rest of the material is absolute classic blues, from Willie Mabon's slow and sly evergreen "I Don't Know" (which was popularized by the Blues Brothers) to the immortal Junior Wells slinky get-down tune "Early in the Morning" (with able help from the brilliant Guy), Big Bill Broonzy's "When I Been Drinking" (with Maxwell's deft and character-building piano), and Earl King's easy funk blues "Three Can Play the Game." Shepherd shows up on his upbeat shuffle "Let Me Up I've Had Enough," and the band cleanly tackles the soulful bompity-bomp number "Heartbreaker," penned by the late head honcho of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegun. Beadle's feature "Reconsider Me" is every man's reconciliation plea as the band gets down to business. Lee generally takes the mellow route to the heart of authentic blues, with the bandmembers using completely unforced motion with no hidden agendas in the way they all play together. Of the many fine recordings Bryan Lee has issued over the years, this is close to his very best, and comes easily recommended.

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