Luther Allison

Reckless

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Luther's third album for Alligator finds the 50-something bluesman truly at the peak of his powers. His superb guitar playing has never been more focused, and his singing shows a fervent shouter in full command. But Allison's songwriting has made giant strides as well, and ten of the 14 tracks aboard feature him as a co-writer as well. The production by Jim Gaines delivers a modern-sounding album that stays firmly in the blues tradition while giving full vent to Luther's penchant for blending soul, rock and funk grooves into his musical stew. There are really no duff tracks aboard, but special attention should be paid to the sloppy but right slide guitar-meets-rock & roll groove of "Low Down And Dirty," and Allison's incredibly hot minor key soloing (at full rock volume) on "Drowning At The Bottom," an acoustic duet with his son Bernard on "Playin' A Losing Game," and the grinding social commentary of "Pain In The Streets." If Allison had made albums like this for Motown 20-some years ago, it would be very interesting to speculate on how the blues history books just might have been rewritten.

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